This Thursday sees Scotland kick off their Euro 2020 campaign in the far reaches of Europe against Kazakhstan in Astana.
Alex McLeish’s men face off against a side ranked 77 places below them in the FIFA World Rankings as they look to qualify for their first tournament since France ’98.
And the star man for the opposition will be Bauyrzhan Islamkhan, dubbed the ‘new Iniesta’ in 2014 and who almost signed for Celtic back in February last year.
His agent revealed in February of 2018 that Brendan Rodgers was interested in the technically gifted 2014 Kazakh Player of the Year.
But Celtic pulled out of the move as they were not convinced he would be able to handle the physical side of the Scottish game.
The pint-sized attacking midfielder captains club side Kairat Almaty, and has chalked up 36 caps and two goals for the national side since making his debut in 2012.
Aberdeen fans might remember him for the 30-yard rocket he scored back in July 2015 as Derek McInnes’ men went down 2-1 to Almaty in a Europa League qualifier in Kazakhtstan.
The 26 year old also made headlines back in 2016 when Bayern Munich forward put him in a headlock during a World Cup qualification match between Kazakhstan and Poland.
Both comfortable and skillful in possession, Islamkhan is the real workhorse and leader of the national side. Quick-thinking and with a fantastic shooting ability, Scotland will need to keep him quiet if they are to come away from Kazakhstan with a victory.
You can follow Football Scotland here on Twitter and join the conversation on our Facebook page here. We also publish a nightly newsletter at around 5pm every week day, rounding up the latest stories and more. To sign up go here.