Chris Martin has told Slovakia that a rejuvenated Scotland side will give them “a right run for their money” when they meet at Hampden Park next month.
Gordon Strachan’s men were abject when they lost 3-0 to the Slovaks in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Trnava last October, following a home draw against Lithuania days earlier.
Prospects of reaching Russia looked all-but over when the same scoreline against England at Wembley the following month left the Scots second bottom of the section with four points from four games.
However, personnel and fortunes have changed for Scotland since then and, in the 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden Park on Monday night, only defender Andy Robertson had also started in the opening Group F qualifier against the same opponents.
Scotland are unbeaten in four games and moved to within a point of second-place Slovakia with two fixtures remaining and a play-off spot up for grabs.
Martin, who came on as a second-half substitute for Leigh Griffiths, looked forward with added confidence to what is sure to be a thrilling night at the national stadium.
The 28-year-old Derby County striker said: “We are a point behind heading into the last two games so it is in our hands obviously because we have to play against Slovakia. Hopefully it is a full house with everyone behind us because we are going to need them.
“They are a tough side, we’ve obviously seen that in the fixture against them, they played extremely well that night. But we are a different team compared to that game so I think we will give them a right run for their money and will be looking to go out and win the game and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Scotland have been playing must-win games since the Wembley defeat and maximum points from the Malta game – which came after the 3-0 win in Lithuania on Friday night – has kept them in with a chance of reaching Russia next summer.
A trip to Slovenia after the home game against Slovakia will complete the group fixtures and Martin is looking to “finish the job”.
He said: “We started the campaign off with a victory in Malta, then in the next three games we didn’t manage to pick up many points.”
He added: “It is amazing what momentum and confidence can do for you, once you get on a bit of a roll.
“Fair play to the guys who have started the games, they have played well. We have managed to put ourselves in a half-decent position and we need to finish the job.
“We can’t get too carried away with these two victories. There are two massive games to come and we need to put in the same performance levels and if we can I am sure we will be alright.”