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Serbian marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic stands between Scotland and Euro history

last updated Thursday 12th November 2020, 6:48 PM


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Serbian marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic stands between Scotland and Euro history

On the face of it, it is a mismatch in terms of firepower. The 25-man squad Scotland pick their XI from for Thursday’s play-off for one of the last four remaining places at next summer’s European championship have a combined 24 international goals between them. Up front for Serbia, their opponents in Belgrade, is a centre-forward with 36 goals from his 59 caps.

The last 13 of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s strikes for his country have come from his last 11 internationals. It has been a peak year, coinciding with his emerging as the leading scoring in last season’s English Championship for Fulham who, for the second time in three years, won promotion to the Premier League on the back of Mitrovic’s marksmanship.

Granted, the 26-year-old has tended to find defences harder to unpick in England’s top division, and a career of several yo-yos between Championship and Premier League, with both Fulham and Newcastle United means Mitrovic is sometimes viewed as a specialist in second-tier success.

That need not be a slight on his abilities. “The Championship is the most attritional league probably in the world,” according to Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who selects several of his players from that division.

Attrition is Mitrovic’s sphere. He is physically imposing, pugnacious, a target man of old-fashioned virtues, strong in the air, with sharp elbows and a barrel chest. He has achieved a cult status at Fulham, and an authority with Serbia that shapes the way they attack.

Three more international goals and ‘Mitro’ will become the all-time highest scorer since Serbia became independent of Montenegro for football purposes in 2006. Success on Thursday and he would expect to enter his first Euros with that badge of honour fixed proudly to his broad torso.





















Source Ian Hawkey at The National News
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