Go for broke or hope?

Scotland head into tonight’s Group I Euro 2012 Qualifying showdown with Spain needing a win or to better Czech Republic’s result away to Lithuania to secure their passage into the lottery of the play-offs and make it one step closer to their European dream.

Manager Craig Levein’s selection for tonight’s match at the Estadio Jose Rico Perez, Alicante is unchanged from the side who salvaged a 1-0 win away in Liechtenstein on Saturday, a match which increased hope amongst the travelling Tartan Army and the importance of the result tonight.

This means striker Kenny Miller does not feature after failing to overcome a groin strain. Better news for Scotland is that midfield stars Darren Fletcher and Barry Bannan have won their fitness race for tonight’s encounter, overcoming ankle and achilles injuries respectively, which were sustained in Saturday’s match.

Scotland team to play Spain (4-5-1): McGregor; Hutton, Caldwell, Berra, Bardsley; Naismith, Adam, Fletcher, Bannan, Morrison; Mackail-Smith

Mackail-Smith wheels away after grabbing what proved to be the winner on Saturday

Craig Mackail-Smith is the man who will lead the line tonight for Scotland and is brimming with confidence after scoring his first international goal in the 1-0 away win in Liechtenstein. The Brighton & Hove Albion centre-forward spoke to BBC Sport after Saturday’s match:

“It’s going to be harder on Tuesday against world-class opposition but we’re going to put ourselves on the pitch and do the best we can.”

Tonight’s match brings the curtain down on a somewhat mixed campaign for Scotland where results and refereeing decisions always seemed to be against us and which was full of missed opportunities. However, having their own fate in their hands regarding qualification is something which manager and players would have relished at the start of qualifying after being pitted in the same group as World Champions Spain.

Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque is expected to rest many of his star studded side, including Real Madrid Keeper Iker Casillas which paves the way for either Pepe Reina or Victor Valdes to start between the sticks.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is set to start the match in order to boost his fitness and get his goalscoring back on track having failed to score for the spaniards since June but remains the biggest threat to Scotland’s rearguard.

Many Scotland fans will tonight have one-eye on the other fixture taking place simultaneously in Group I tonight though, in Lithuania, where the result has huge implications on whether the Scots can reach the play-offs.

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