The former Celtic and Middlesbrough manager saw the Scots win 1-0 against Estonia on his managerial debut although Friday’s encounter is a different kettle of fish, with Wales coming to Hampden Park and hoping to complete a double against their fellow Home Nations team.
Scotland are the odds-on favourites to claim victory at 5/6 (Sky Bet), although they have failed to win any of their four qualifying matches to date and there will be a fair amount of pressure on the home team who aren’t accustomed to winning too many matches.
The campaign started with a goalless draw against Serbia and the Scots were also held at home by Macedonia before defeats away to Wales and Belgium saw Craig Levein relieved of his duties.
Steven Fletcher is back in the international fold and Ladbrokes go 5/1 about the Sunderland striker breaking the deadlock in this match, although he’s not been finding the net too regularly for his club side recently after a bright start to the campaign.
Perhaps Strachan will take a punt on Jordan Rhodes who has scored twenty times for a troubled Blackburn side, although there will be emphasis on keeping one particular Welsh player quiet, with Bale almost singlehandedly winning the match for his country when the teams met in October.
The visitors are a 5/2 chance with William Hill to claim three points on Friday night and certainly won’t want to be propping the table up over the weekend, with that win against Scotland the only occasion in four games where they have avoided defeat.
In fairness to the Welsh, they have already faced Croatia and Belgium, although a 6-1 trouncing by Serbia back in September hints at the way the defence can crumble under any kind of pressure.
That man Bale can always conjure a goal out of nothing and he’s a 6/1 chance to score the first of this particular match, with Chris Coleman surely looking to deploy him in an advanced position after an amazing season for Tottenham.
While Strachan’s first competitive game will see the Tartan Army in good form, it’s hard to have faith in Scotland winning against anyone at the moment, with Wales likely to raise their game for something of a derby game. The draw at 13/5 (BetVictor) clearly makes more appeal than the home win and a 1-1 scoreline looks backable at 7/1.