Scotland face double injury blow with Fraser, Hanley out of the crucial Euro 2020 playoff match

Winger Ryan Fraser and defender Grant Hanley will both missScotland’s crucial Euro 2020 play-off final against Serbia on Thursday due to injury. A win at the Red Star Stadium in Belgrade would see them qualify for their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France. However, without their key players, the Scot’s boss expresses disappointment as the weaken team travels Belgrade.

It’s disappointing, said Scotland assistant manager Steven Reid. “Grant’s missed a little bit of football and unfortunately won’t be with us, and Ryan, who played really well in the last camp. The Newcastle United winger Fraser is ruled out with a hamstring problem that also saw him out of his club’s 2-0 defeat recently. The winger scored the only goal of the game as Scotland beat Czech Republic last month.

Meanwhile Norwich City central defender Hanley also with a hamstring has been sidelined earlier this season. Hanley, who has 29 caps, had returned to the squad having last played for Scotland against Costa Rica in March 2018. Hanley along with teammate Max Aarons have been forced to withdraw from their upcoming international fixtures as confirmed by the club’s website.

“We have obviously bigger numbers than usual in the squad and feel as if we have a squad which is capable of competing well at our strongest in the Serbia game and going into the two Nations League games after,” Reid added. The duo will also miss Scotland’s Nations League games away to Slovakia on Sunday and Israel on November 18.

Scotland beat Israel in a penalty shootout in Glasgow after a 0-0 draw during the semis last month, while Milinković-Savić’sbrace lifted Serbia into the finals with a 2-1 extra-time, ending Norway’s Euro 2020 qualification berth. The winners of the play-off in Belgrade will join Group D of the European Championship, where England, the Czech Republic and Croatia are already waiting.

Four nations will qualify for EURO 2020 while the play-offs will take place on Nov. 12.   The winner will join a Euro 2020 group with the Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria. Games will be played in Amsterdam and Bucharest. Euro 2020, originally scheduled for June 12-July 12, was pushed back 12 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic and is now due to be held from June 11-July 11 next year.