Lubomir Moravcik has insisted that Slovakia will go for it against Scotland on Thursday night at Hampden as Gordon Strachan’s side push for two wins from their final two Group F games.

It is difficult to underestimate the magnitude of the final two matches – against Slovakia on Thursday night and Slovenia on Sunday – given what is at stake.

Scotland have not qualified for a major international tournament since 1998 when they made it to France but entire generations have failed to see the country participate in either a World Cup or European Championship.

Slovakia can pip Scotland to a play-off place – and Moravcik expects a full attacking display from his countrymen – and he believes the pressure of expectation can mess with Scotland too.

“At Hampden there are 50,000 people, it’s a fantastic atmosphere and the Scottish fans will push the team,” he said. “But the pressure is hard, you have to be mentally very strong and wait for one good chance to score a goal and keep a clean sheet. It’s not an easy game for Scotland.

“For Slovakia it is easier than it is for Scotland. After Slovakia, Scotland must go to win in Slovenia, maybe if you bring a lot of pounds there you’ll get three points....!”

It says much about Scotland’s improvements in recent months however that Strachan’s side are still in with a shout, no matter how difficult a proposition it is.

Last October Moravcik watched Slovakia beat Scotland 3-0 and he admitted that he didn’t recognise the performance as belonging to a Scottish side given it was so bereft of fight and spirit.

“I didn’t recognise the Scotland players in that game,” said Moravcik. “Many people in our media didn’t understand what had happened to Scotland after that game. They were not dangerous, they sat back, and Slovakia were able to play and score goals. There was no reaction from Scotland to try to do something in the game.

“They came to our country, they got beaten, and they went home. I was surprised by the mentality of the Scottish players that night. I didn’t recognise it.”

Leigh Griffiths’ set-piece ability came to the fore at Hampden in May when he netted a brace against Joe Hart.

Moravcik has identified Griffiths as Scotland’s best player but while there is respect for the Celtic striker it is Slovakia who will supply the biggest talent on the night, according to the formative playmaker.

“[Marek] Hamsík will be the top player on the pitch,” said Moravcik. “He is going to be very important to Slovakia. He can score goals with both feet and he can change games. At the start of the season he was only playing 60 minutes or so for Napoli, which I found very strange. But he scored in his last game and he is in good form.

“He is absolutely the best player in Slovakia. Should Scotland man mark him? Football has changed, it’s more about space now rather than the individual. Even Messi does not get marked individually now. It’s more about closing the space, getting two or three players around him, because you don’t want to give away fouls.

“You don’t want to concede free-kicks because they are the key to many games,” continued Moravcik, himself no stranger to an eye-catching deadball effort in his day.

“Just look at Leigh Griffiths against England. Slovakia must be very careful up to 25 yards from goal. The way he strikes free-kicks, the goalkeeper has no chance.”

England need just a point from their final two games to qualify but Moravcik believes that Gareth Southgate’s side have got lucky in the campaign.

Scotland are still lamenting the late goal that cost them all three points against England at the end of last season and Moravcik has insisted that they have had the rub of the green throughout the entirety of the campaign.

The Slovak also believes that outwith Spurs striker Harry Kane there isn’t a player of outstanding quality within the Three Lions camp.

“Absolutely England have been lucky,” he said. “Imagine they didn’t score in stoppage time in Slovakia to win, that would be top points gone and the draw with Scotland lose, that would be three points less.

“They would be on 17-points and Slovakia and Scotland would be on 16. England would have Slovenia at home and Lithuania away, still having to qualify.

“They are not a great team, they don’t have top players expect for Harry Kane. He could be a player for Real Madrid or Bayern Munich but he plays for Tottenham Hotspur and they are not going to win the Champions League, no chance, maybe not even last eight.

“England have players from Spurs, who are young and good but Wayne Rooney is gone now, and they don’t have top players for me.

“It can be hard to beat the small teams because you need top players, imagine Barcelona without Messi or PSG without Neymar.

“England have dominated in the group because they have been lucky.”

*Lubo Moravcik was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is a proud sponsor of the Scotland national team.