Steve Clarke’s Scotland travel to Nicosia to take on Cyprus in a dead-rubber Euro 2020 qualifier this weekend.
However, the Tartan Army will still demand a momentum-building win against a side ranked 93rd in the world, 40 places below the Dark Blues, as preparations continue for March’s play-offs.
History suggests it’s achievable – in all six previous meetings between the two nations the Scots have come out victorious. However, the first Group I meeting at Hampden was anything but comfortable, in what has been a miserable qualifying campaign.
The first meeting between Scotland and Cyprus came in December 1968 and was part of the 1970 World Cup qualifiers.
While the margin of victory over both matches in that campaign was significant, the subsequent four clashes – two at home and two away – have been decided by one goal.
11/12/1968 Cyprus 0-5 Scotland – Neo GSP Stadium, Nicosia, 1970 World Cup Qualifying
The first match between the two came in a World Cup qualifier in Nicosia.
The all-amateur Cyprus team faced an uphill battle against a Scotland squad containing the likes of Billy Bremner and Alan Gilzean.
And it was Gilzean who opened the scoring in the third minute as the Scots routed the hosts.
A brace from Gilzean, along with goals from Bobby Murdoch, Colin Stein and an own goal from Michael Alkivaiadis put the game to bed before the half-time whistle.
The Cypriots gave a better account of themselves in the second half and kept the scoreline the same.
17/05/1969 Scotland 8-0 Cyprus – Hampden Park, Glasgow, 1970 World Cup Qualifying
Colin Stein’s four goals helped Scotland hand Cyprus an even harsher defeat, as the two sides met again in Glasgow.
The Scot’s strolled past a Cyprus team, who looked well out of their depth in front of a crowd of just 30,000.
As well as Stein’s quadruple, goals came from Eddie Gray, Billy McNeill, Willie Henderson and a 76th-minute penalty from Tommy Gemmell.
08/02/1989 Cyprus 2-3 Scotland – Tsirio Stadium, Limassol, 1990 World Cup Qualifying
A last-minute goal from Richard Gough was needed as Scotland came from behind to defeat Cyprus in Limassol.
Andy Roxburgh’s team had started well in a match they were expected to win, and found an early lead through striker Mo Johnstone in the 9th minute.
However, the Cypriots equalised through Chris Koliandris five minutes later and took a surprise lead at the start of the second half.
Gough levelled the score soon after and then broke host hearts with his 90th minute header to clinch the win.
26/04/1989 Scotland 2-1 Cyprus – Hampden Park, Glasgow, 1990 World Cup Qualifying
Goals from Mo Johnstone and Ally McCoist were enough to see off Cyprus for the fourth time.
The Cyprus defence was broken in the 21st minute by a wonderful overhead kick from Johnstone.
A flick from Floros Nicolaou levelled the game in the 62nd minute.
However, Scotland responded perfectly with Ally McCoist reinstating the lead just a minute later.
The Dark Blues held on for win number four.
11/11/2011 Cyprus 1-2 Scotland – Antonis Papadopoulos, Larnaca, International Friendly
Scotland battled out a hard fought win in a friendly match in Larnaca.
Miller’s 23rd minute lob and Jamie Mackie’s second half curling shot proved just enough for Craig Levein’s men.
Demetris Christofi responded for the hosts, who ultimately fell just short again.
08/06/2019 Scotland 2-1 Cyprus – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Euro 2020 Qualifying
It took Oliver Burke’s late effort to seal victory in Steve Clarke’s first game in charge as Scotland manager.
In the first half, a Charlie Mulgrew free-kick forced a save, while Pieros Sotiriou came close for the visitors.
The hosts found a breakthrough in the 61st minute through a superb strike from Captain Andy Robertson just outside the box.
Cyprus levelled with four minutes to play, Ioannis Kousoulos beating the defenders to head in from a corner.
But the visitors were again cruelly denied, with Oliver Burke slotting home a late winner after his initial attempt rebounded off the post.