SCOTLAND kick off their qualifying campaign with a testing trip away to the boundaries of Eastern Europe. The Tartan Army will be hoping to secure maximum points from opening games before much stiffer tests await down the line.

The qualifying campaign for Euro 2020 sees Scotland face Kazakhstan, San Marino, Cyprus, Russia and Belgium for a spot at the tournament in which Hampden will host three matches. And it all starts at the 30,324 capacity Astana Arena, the home of the Kazakh champions, FC Astana.

When is the game being played?
The match takes place onThursday with a kick-off time of 3pm GMT. With a six-hour time difference this means that although kick off will take place in the middle of the afternoon here, it is a 9pm kick-off local time.

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Where is the game being played?
The game takes place at the $185million, 30,324 all-seater Astana Arena. The stadium is the home of Kazakh champions FC Astana, a side that will definitely ring a bell with Scottish football fans, following their previous Champions League qualifiers against Celtic. It is worth noting that the surface at the Astana Arena is an artificial one and may prove to be a test for the Scotland players. The ground is also the home to slightly lesser-known second tier side FC Bayterek.

What will the conditions be like?
Although temperatures have soared at times when Celtic have rocked up for Champions League qualifiers, the Scotland team can leave their sun cream and t-shirts back home as temperatures are set to be well below freezing come kick off. For Thursday a high of two degrees is predicted, whilst the low will be -8 come the evening.

What to expect from Kazakhstan?
With all but three of their players plying their trade within their home national league there will be a real sense of continuity and togetherness around the Kazakhstan national team, although not an abundance of out-and-out quality.


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Strikers Roman Murtazaev and Baurzhan Turysbek will provide the main goal threat for the hosts, with Murtazaev netting two goals and an assist in 12 games this season for league champions Astana, whilst Turysbek has found the net every 102 minutes this campaign and also has bagged himself three goals in just eleven caps.

However, the standout player is definitely 20 year-old midfielder Baktiyar Zaynutindov. The attacking midfielder, who plies his trade in Russia for FC Rostov, came through the youth ranks at Taraz FC. A move to Astana FC soon followed where as a 19-year-old he bagged himself six goals and three assists for the champions. He subsequently earned his move to the Russian Premier League, and has three goals in nine appearances for the national side

Where can you watch the game?
The game will be shown live on Sky Sports Football.