Slovakia boss reckons a point against Scotland in crucial qualifier could be enough to seal play-off place



Slovakia manager Jan Kozak reckons a draw with Scotland in the crucial World Cup qualifier could be enough to seal a play-off place.

Kozak’s side travel to Hampden next Thursday for the all-important penultimate match in Group F and are in pole position to clinch second spot, with a one point lead over both Slovenia and Scotland.

And with Slovenia not expected to take anything from their trip to England on the same day and Slovakia finishing with a home clash against bottom side Malta, Kozak believes a share of the spoils at Hampden would leave the runners-up place firmly in their grasp.

Kozak, who has included former Rangers forward Vladimir Weiss in his 23-man squad for the two qualifiers, said: “We know we can reach the play-offs with two victories but maybe the draw with be enough in Glasgow.

“The draw in Scotland would, in my opinion, also provide us with a second place, even though we would have to look at the result of Slovenia against England, and there is also a table of teams looking to get one of the play-off places.

“I feel we have the quality and we have confirmed it several times.

“I feel that it will be a balanced match and it will be decided by the little things and whoever makes less mistakes.

“The Scots are strong at home, with the support of fantastic fans and are playing very well. But we also have our own quality, our players are experienced and are able manage difficult matches in an atmosphere that awaits us in Glasgow.”

Kozak does not have his personnel issues to seek ahead of the Hampden clash.

The 63-year-old, who is without suspended Inter Milan defender Milan Škriniar, has named Dinamo Bucharest’s Adam Nemec has his only recognised striker, with Orenburg forward Michal Duris injured.

Captain Martin Skrtel has also been struggling through injury.

Kozak said: “Michal has a knee problem and his situation is not so good.

“Martin is improving and I believe he will be fine in the match against Scotland. He still has some time for treatment.

“We also don’t have Skriniar through suspension.”