ARTEM Dzyuba believes returning to the Luzhniki Stadium for the first time since knocking Spain out of the World Cup can inspire Russia to victory over Scotland tonight and edge them closer to the Euro 2020 finals.

Dzyuba and his team mates stunned world football by beating former champions Spain on penalties in the last 16 of last summer’s finals and progressing the quarter-finals in front of 78,011 fans at the Moscow venue.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s team can secure second place in Group I and qualify if they win this evening and their nearest rivals Kazakhstan and Cyprus draw in Nursultan. A crowd of over 60,000 is expected.

Dzyuba, the Zenit St Petersburg striker who scored in the 2-1 win over Steve Clarke’s team at Hampden last month, feels going back to the scene of their famous Russia 2018 triumph will work in their favour.

“We’ve been saying this all along after the World Cup, it’s good to play at home,” he said. “This is a special venue for us, the epitome of the national team.

The atmosphere is going to be wonderful and I would like to encourage all our supporters to turn up. The 12th player plays an immense role so I hope the supporters can motivate us to attack and get the result we need.

“Results is ultimately what matters. This appreciation of our fans, when our supporters realise we love them, it also turns the situation around. We don’t have any different players playing for our side, but we always give 100 per cent to the game. Results and the attitude, this is the only way.”

Dzyuba has been surprised that Scotland have fared so badly in Euro 2020 qualifying and is taking the threat that Andy Robertson and his team mates pose seriously.

“It’s a little weird that you don’t have a little faith in your team,” he said after being asked a question by a Scottish journalist. “It is similar to the Russian fans who didn’t have much faith in their team before the World Cup. Nothing terrible happened. The loss to Kazakhstan was a bit surprising, but it is a difficult place to go, partly because of the astroturf. You have excellent players playing for your side, for clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United.

“Initially Scotland was considered one of the most promising teams in the group. After this one victory (to Kazakhstan), you lost faith in your side which is a little surprising.

“We believe it is a tough opponent and we are going to give 100 per cent in this game. We are not Spain, Netherlands or Portugal; we can’t play opponents without proper preparation.”

Matthew Lindsay