According to many media sources, Craig Levein must lead Scotland to victory over Belgium in order to save his job as national team manager. If that is true, then it is almost inevitable that the SFA will be posting a job advert first thing on Wednesday morning.
Let’s face it. Scotland have absolutely no chance whatsoever of winning in Brussels.
Craig Levein’s side were torn apart by a Gareth Bale-inspired Wales at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night and having watched their inability to shackle one superstar who basically constituted a one-man team on the night, it is impossible to imagine how this group of under-achievers will ever manage to contain a whole team of talent such as the one they will face on Tuesday.
Even without the injured Marouane Fellaini, Marc Wilmots’ team dismantled Serbia in Belgrade with a team featuring the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin Mirallas, Moussa Dembele, Axel Witsel and Daniel van Buyten.
And lest we forget, this is also the same team that put four goals past Holland in a friendly two months ago and who haven’t lost a game at home in more than two years.
While the Red Devils currently top Group A with seven points from three games, Levein’s Dark Blues have managed just two points and sit second-bottom of the group and with their World Cup dreams all but over after only three games.
Defeat in Brussels, which seems like a formality, will merely rubber-stamp Scotland’s absence from yet another major tournament and with it, seal the envelope containing Levein’s P45.
Scott Brown’s injury, which will rule him out of Tuesday’s match, makes the visitors’ task even tougher, especially if Levein opts to use Charlie Adam in his place again – a decision which backfired spectacularly in Cardiff.
Adam has never been a favourite of the Tartan Army and his lazy tracking back on Bale, which resulted in Wales’ winning goal, has only underlined the perceived lack of effort that has plagued him at international level.
The Stoke City man is unlikely to start for this reason, so expect to see Shaun Maloney, Steven Fletcher and Kris Commons sacrificed too in favour of grafters like Don Cowie and Kenny Miller.
The harsh reality is, though, that it doesn’t matter who pulls on the Dark Blue jerseys on Tuesday night. Scotland will lose, and they will lose convincingly.
The last time they played in Brussels in 2001 they lost 2-0 and a repeat of this scoreline looks very tempting at odds of 19/4. Alternatively, backing Belgium in the multiple correct score market to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 at odds of 5/4 stands a great chance of paying out.
New customers who sign up with bwin online qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back Belgium to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 will return £45 if successful.
Whatever happens, it seems that Levein is living on borrowed time. The next time you hear from me in an international context, I expect to be offering odds on Gordon Strachan or Alex McLeish winning their first game as the new Scotland manager.
Certainly don’t waste your money backing Levein to earn a stay of execution with a positive result. Taking Belgium is the only way to return a profit in this one.