A historic night at Hampden tomorrow will see Diego Maradona’s first match in charge of Argentina. Both his appointment and the arranging of this glamour friendly were rather controversial (with ticket prices going as high as £35), but it should be an enjoyable night for all involved.
Lionel Messi will be missing from the game but most of Argentina’s big names will be there, including hotshot Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano, who will be captaining the side for the first time. As for Scotland, captain Barry Ferguson and Alan Hutton are due to report following lengthy layoffs due to injury. It’s also a chance for Allan McGregor to shine in goal after a twisted ankle ruled out Sunderland’s Craig Gordon.
Call-offs are an all too familiar problem for international friendlies, which is why the likes of Scott Robertson (Dundee United) and Lee Miller (Aberdeen) make up the numbers in an otherwise fairly familiar squad.
The most likely scenario sees McGregor play in goal, with Hutton/Kirk Broadfoot and either Gary Naysmith (Sheffield United) or Jamie McAllister (Bristol City) in the fullback berths. It’s anyone’s guess who will partner likely starter Steven McManus in central defence. Ferguson won’t last the whole match but he’s certain to start in the midfield, most likely along with Celtic trio Scott Brown, Paul Hartley & Barry Robson.
Whether George Burley will opt for a lone striker up front or not is anyone’s guess, but Chris Iwelumo should get a chance at some point or another to make up for his horrific miss against Norway last month. This writer is hopeful that despite the quality of the opposition, the Scotland boss won’t just sit back and defend for 90 minutes.
As Burley said, himself a member of the Scotland squad the last time Argentina visited Glasgow back when Maradona was in his teens, “this is a tremendous game for Scotland to have […] it will be great to see the flair and excitement the Argentina players have in their lockers.”
No matter what the cost, the attendence or even the result, most Scotland fans should be thinking the same thing.