New Gibraltar boss set for tough Scotland homecoming in Euro clash
Rock-bottom of Euro 2016 qualifying Group D without a point or even a goal from their opening four games, Gibraltar are up against it as they travel to finals-chasing Scotland, who will be looking for a big result at Hampden Park.
But GFA, as the tiny oversees British territory on Spain’s south coast, are nicknamed, put out a spirited display in their last match against World Cup winners Germany on the road, as they lost just 4-0.
UEFA’s newest and 54th nation Gibraltar are terrific 11/2 chances to get their first competitive goal on the senior international stage, as they nearly did at the end of their 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Republic of Ireland, only for David Forde to save superbly.
GFA’s chances of victory (100/1) or even a draw (14/1) are very slim, but their new interim head coach David Wilson is a Scotland national, who was stationed out in Gibraltar whilst in the Royal Navy, and he will be fired up for this encounter.
The eccentric Scot recently succeeded Allen Bula, who he was assistant to but was sacked in controversial circumstances, and spoke ahead of the game.
“You dream of it as a boy, walking out at Hampden,” Wilson, a former Kilmarnock trainee, said. “I’d made my mind up that a professional career in football wasn’t for me 20 years ago.
“So what are the chances of finding a country to coach and then being lucky enough to draw Scotland? All of those stars have aligned. It’s surreal – what an adventure.
“I’ve got approximately 500 or 600 players to chose from,” he added. “We discussed 38 players for this game and narrowed it down to 23 – what a contrast to [Scotland manager] Gordon Strachan.
“We’re in our infancy in international football and we have a long, long way to go.
“It’s always about damage limitation and then prolonged frustration, we’ve managed it in periods – the first 45 minutes against Poland (they were just 1-0 down at half time before losing 7-0), even with the Germans. If we can do that against world class strikers then we’re doing our job.”
In terms of players to look out for, for the visitors, Preston’s Scott Wiseman is the highest profile in terms of the club he turns out for, but attacker Liam Walker is the star of the team.
The former Portsmouth playmaker had a terrific game against Germany, and tested wonder keeper Manuel Neuer with a couple of efforts with his wicked left foot, including one fantastic long-ranged shot that the stopper just managed to tip away. Walker is a tempting 33/1 chance to net anytime.
Scotland go into the match as such heavy odds-on favourites (1/100) that it is a matter of how many goals they score. They claimed a crucial win over Ireland last time out and are more tempting 7/10 chances to net more than five, or 17/2 for a 7-0 victory.
Strachan has a talented attack too, in the likes of Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes and Steven Naismith. They are respective 6/4, 6/4 and 2/1 shouts to score twice or more.