John McGinn opens the scoring in a 3-0 home win over Cyprus in MarchScotland opened their Group A campaign with a 3-0 home win over Cyprus in MarchEuro 2024 qualifier: Cyprus v Scotland

Venue: AEK Arena, Larnaca Date: Friday, 8 September Time: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Follow live on the BBC Sport website & app, listen on BBC Sounds & watch highlights on BBC Scotland

Continuity and confidence are key factors for Scotland as they aim to take a significant step towards Euro 2024 qualification, said Steve Clarke.

“The squad is pretty settled,” said Clarke.

“It’s something we’ve tried to do for a number of camps now and I think the run of results we’ve had is a consequence of that stability.”

Scotland have won their last 10 group-stage qualification matches, stretching back to September 2021.

Head coach Clarke added: “The players are in a good place. Maximum points, you can’t do much better than that.

“Some of the performances, or moments in games, we can improve on. We don’t think for a minute that we’re the finished article.

“When we qualified for Euro 2020, I said we’d improve and we’ve done that - and there’s more improvement in the squad to come.

“I just want to help these guys be as good as they can be.”

Cyprus are yet to pick up a point from three group matches and have lost in all eight meetings with Scotland over the years.

The last of those came in March in Glasgow, with Scott McTominay netting two late goals in a 3-0 win for Clarke’s side.

“Always respect the opponent,” said Clarke. “We expect a tough game.

“Those two late goals at Hampden probably put a little gloss on the scoreline.

“Conditions will be hot, but it was pretty hot in Norway when we went there in June. You just have to deal with the conditions whatever they are and get the result you want.”

Although Scotland have an official allocation of 3,728 for the 8,058-capacity stadium in Larnaca, around 6,000 of their fans have travelled.

“A good support always helps,” added Clarke with a smile. “They are always vocal and, if they continue that, great.”

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Team news

Scotland are without Elliot Anderson as the Newcastle United midfielder picked up a knock in training after his first senior international call-up.

Rangers’ Robby McCrorie was a late replacement for Liam Kelly among the back-up goalkeepers to first-choice Angus Gunn.

Lyndon Dykes remains with the squad and has “trained well”, according to Clarke, although the striker has missed the last three games for QPR with a knee issue.

Experienced centre-halves Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper are missing through injury, but Scott McKenna is fit for the first time in this campaign.

Pick your Scotland XI to face Cyprus

What do we know about Cyprus?

This is a side that has won just four of the past 30 competitive matches, including two of 16 home European Championship qualifiers, and lost all eight of the previous meetings with Scotland.

Temuri Ketsbaia’s team don’t come without threat though. In AIK striker Ioannis Pittas, Omonia’s Loizos Loizou and fellow winger Marinos Tzionis of Sporting Kansas City, they have threats right across the front-line.

At the back, they have Alex Gogic, who is having a superb start to the season at St Mirren, while their likely starting goalkeeper, Joel Mall, performed brilliantly in the Champions League qualifiers for Servette, impressing in both legs against Rangers. Just ask Sam Lammers, who was denied by a world-class save in Glasgow.

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What they said

Scotland captain Andy Robertson: “The game against Cyprus in March looks comfortable on paper but people have to remember it was 1-0 until the 87th minute, so it was hard fought. We deserved to win that day, we played well, and it will take another performance like that.

“The four wins have all been different. It’s been a perfect campaign so far and it’s up to us to continue that. This game is massive, a win puts us in a really good spot.

“None of the lads are getting ahead of themselves. It’s just halfway and we need to finish the job.”

Cyprus manager Temuri Ketsbaia : “I believe Scotland have already qualified, although I don’t know if they’ll finish in first or second place.

“We know it will be difficult. Scotland have players with real quality who are playing in the Premier League.”

“We hope the weather conditions will be more difficult for Scotland. We are used to it.”

Match stats

  • Cyprus have lost all eight games against Scotland, scoring six times and conceding 27, shipping at least two goals in every game.
  • Scotland have won qualifiers against Cyprus (four World Cup, three Euros), only winning more against the Faroe Islands and San Marino (8).
  • Cyprus have lost their last six European Championship qualifiers since a 2-1 win against Kazakhstan in 2019. It’s their longest losing run in Euro qualifiers since losing 12 in a row between 1987 and 1994.
  • Scotland have won 14 of their last 20 matches in all competitions (D3 L3), including all four matches in this campaign. It’s their most wins across a 20-game span since a run of 14 wins in 20 matches between 1975 and 1978.
  • Scotland have won their last 10 group stage qualification matches, stretching back to September 2021. It is the longest ongoing run of any European nation currently.
  • Scott McTominay has scored five goals in his last four caps, having scored just once in his first 37. The only two players to score more in a single year for Scotland this century are Steven Fletcher in 2015 and John McGinn in 2019 (both seven).