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Scotland vs Israel

Steve Clarke’s Scotland side will look to tighten their grip on the Group F playoff spot when they face Israel in World Cup Qualifying on Saturday. 

One-point separates the second placed Tartan Army and Israel heading into the 7th round fixture at Hamden Park. A defeat for Scotland would see them leapfrogged by an Israeli side harbouring ambitions of qualifying for their first World Cup since 1970. 

The Scots currently have a record of 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss in qualifying so far but have put in some impressive performances as of late, coming off the back of two 1-0 wins against Moldova and Austria respectively. In contrast, Israel were defeated 5-0 by a ruthless and efficient Denmark side who are looking highly likely to top the group. 

Clarke’s side is essential at full strength with a mix of young talent such as Billy Gilmour and the experienced heads like Andy Robertson to lead the way. Regular goalkeeper David Marshall is a notable absentee, but Craig Gordon should be a more than capable replacement for the Derby County stopper. Despite being included in the squad, centre half Grant Hanley will miss out on this fixture through suspension. 

In terms of the Israel squad, all-time record scorer Eran Zahavi is an obvious inclusion in the squad and will likely start the game up front alongside Hoffenheim striker Munas Dabbur. In 6 qualifying games so far; the two have scored a combined tally of 9 goals and will provide a great threat to the Scottish backline. 

Scottish Assistant John Carver spoke of his sides confidence going into the game coming from back to back wins: “We do have some momentum and I am pleased with the fact that we have actually sold the stadium out.” 

“It is good for me because it will be the first time I have been involved at a game at Hampden with a full crowd.” 

“That just shows you how far we have come, how well the lads have done and it is nice to see that the fans and nation itself are getting right behind the team.” 

“We keep talking about raising the bar and setting the standard and I think we did that in Austria in a difficult environment against an excellent team who did well in the Euros so we knew it was going to be tough.” 

“But we set a standard and went there with no fear and that’s what impressed me more than anything.” 

What do you think?