Anthony Ralston could only watch on in disbelief as Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot curled into the top-left corner on Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old bore the brunt of the blame for allowing the Swiss winger free reign to strike at Angus Gunn’s goal, though it is fair to say multiple Scotland players contributed to the mistake that led to the equaliser. Whether it was Grant Hanley’s uncoordinated pass to Billy Gilmour which put Ralston under pressure, or the flat-footed defence who compounded the issue, there was plenty of blame to go around.

However, Ralston could be set for another tough challenge tonight as this evening’s opponents get set to launch their assault down Scotland’s injury-hit flank.

All that stands between this Scotland team and a historic breakthrough—advancing through the group stages of a European Championship for the first time in the nation’s history—are a Hungary team who require a win to even have a chance of making it through the group.

And Bence Bocsak, an authority on Hungarian football, believes Marco Rossi will look to exploit Scotland’s right-hand side this evening.

“I can see us focusing the play down our left side,” he said.

“I think that’s where Hungary got a lot of joy against Germany and obviously that’s where Scotland struggled against Switzerland.

“We have a lot of talented players down there. Some of our main threats are Milos Kerkez and

Roland Sallai on the left. Sallai, I think, has been Hungary’s best player in the two games so far. He’s caused a lot of problems and he’s one of the most fouled players in the tournament at this stage.

“Dominik Szoboszlai will probably pop up on that left side too, so I would expect us to really look to exploit that area of the pitch.”

Szoboszlai has been a pivotal figure to the recent successes of Hungary. The Liverpool midfielder has made a strong impact in his maiden English Premier League season, and has held a key role for his national team for multiple years now. 

Take your mind back to Hungary’s victories over England two years ago – an astonishing 5-0 aggregate win for the Hungarians over two matches, no less – where the now-23-year-old was front and centre in both.

Although he has not quite lived up to his lofty standards yet at Euro 2024, Bocsak is counting on the captain to have a big say when he lines up against Steve Clarke’s men.

“He’s created our only goal in the tournament so far with a really good cross,” said Bocsak.

“I think it has been a little bit difficult for him at times, but he’s still undoubtedly our main threat, especially when it comes to set-pieces.

“That’s where Szoboszlai needs to be super, super vigilant. I think he can hurt any team with his deliveries. He caused a few problems for Germany from his corners.

“He almost scored against Manuel Neuer as well, who made a good save to stop him. That’s where Scotland need to be wary.”

Szoboszlai has not been the only one struggling for the Hungarians. Despite Marco Rossi’s side dominating Group G in the qualifiers, without so much as losing a single game, they are yet to pick up a point in this year’s group stages after back-to-back losses to Switzerland and Germany.

“There’s been just one 45 minutes of football that has cost us,” Bocsak said. “It’s that first half against Switzerland when we were 2-0 down. If you look at the rest, I think there’s plenty to be proud of. We played pretty well in the second half against Switzerland, and against Germany too.

“That first half against the Swiss was very uncharacteristic of Hungary, but I think there’s still hope.

Before the tournament, there was a lot of excitement because of the results we had been getting heading into things which I think that might have impacted our start. 

“There’s a lot of pressure and expectation on these players, and that might have had an influence on the performance against Switzerland. But seeing what happened against Germany, although it was disappointing to come out having not gotten anything from that game, there are a lot of people still optimistic we can make it out of the group.”

Failure to secure three points will result in an early exit for both nations which means just one looming question remains: which team will find the resilience and edge needed to emerge victorious?

“If you’re looking at it on paper, Scotland is even stronger than Hungary,” he said.

“Scotland’s main threat is Andy Robertson on the left and as I mentioned we have a couple of players who could cause some problems.

“It’s a really tough one to call, and I think it’s going to be so close.”