Israel host Scotland in the Nations League on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30pm
Last Updated: 10/10/18 11:01am
Alex McLeish has issued a warning to his players ahead of facing Israel in Tel Aviv as Scotland aim to make it back-to-back wins at the start of their Nations League campaign.
McLeish’s side are looking to win consecutive matches for the first time since October 2017 when they won three in a row under Gordon Strachan.
Israel have lost their last four games, but McLeish is wary of the threat they pose, saying: “The word is they’re much better at home than they are away from home.
“They haven’t won in a while, but I know the coach Andi Herzog is trying to stamp his personality.
“We saw with the Russians, they were seven games without a win before they blitzed their own World Cup. We want to try to get to that kind of level now. We’re bracketed with Israel and Albania now but we want to aim higher.”
Israel vs Scotland
October 11, 2018, 7:30pm
Scotland’s travelling party were without Leigh Griffiths after the Celtic striker claimed he withdrew from the squad due to fitness concerns.
Griffiths was left out of McLeish’s starting line-up for their most recent match against Albania, leading to suggestions he had withdrawn from this month’s squad due to his unhappiness at that decision.
McLeish, who has won just two of his first six games with Scotland in his second stint, has moved to reassure the 28-year-old that he has not jeopardised his selection in future squads.
“You have to respect Leigh’s decision,” the Scotland boss added.
“I’m not going to throw him under a bus. He came to the games the last time round and there was no animosity whatsoever.
“He wants to concentrate on his fitness. I had a good chat with him on Saturday.”
Striker Moanes Dabour is expected to lead the line for Israel a week after sending out a warning to McLeish by scoring twice in Salzburg’s 3-1 win over Celtic in the Europa League.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser has joined Griffiths in withdrawing from the squad with an unspecified injury.
Hearts forward Steven Naismith and Johnny Russell, who both started against Albania, as well as Swansea striker Oli McBurnie, remain striking options.
John McGinn and Scott McTominay are expected to be fit despite reporting to the Scotland camp with knocks to the ankle and knee respectively.
- This will be the fourth match between Scotland and Israel, with Scotland winning each of the previous three by an aggregate score of 5-1.
- This will be the first meeting between Israel and Scotland since January 1986, when the Tartan Army won 1-0.
- Scotland netted more goals in their last match versus Albania (2) than they did in their previous six games combined (1).
- Scotland have lost their last two away games without scoring – they haven’t lost three consecutive games on the road without finding the net since a run of five ending in August 2010.
- Israel have lost eight of their last 10 matches in all competitions (W1 D1), including each of the last four.
- Since his debut for them, Andrew Robertson has created more chances than any other Scotland player (37), though the Liverpool full-back is yet to provide an assist.