Scotland have worked themselves into a position whereby their Nations League fate is in their own hands when they face Israel at Hampden on Tuesday.
Alex McLeish’s side have no room for error, though. Despite two strong wins over Albania and a goal difference advantage over their visitors, their 2-1 defeat in Haifa last month means that the all-important head-to-head is against them.
With both teams locked on six points, Scotland must record their third win in four games to book a place in the playoffs, which would secure promotion and potentially open up a qualifying route to Euro 2020.
|Game||Scotland vs Israel|
|Date||Tuesday, November 20th|
|Time||7:45pm BST/2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on Univision Deportes and streamed on ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Sky Sports Main Event and can be streamed online via the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Main Event||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Bain, MacDonald, McGregor|
|Defenders||Bates, Hendry, McKenna, Robertson, Shinnie|
|Midfielders||Armstrong, Christie, Fleck, Forrest, Fraser, Mackay-Steven, McGregor, McTominay, Paterson|
|Forwards||Fletcher, McBurnie, Phillips, Russell|
McLeish was hit by a remarkable nine call-offs prior to the victory over Albania on Saturday. John McGinn, Mikey Devlin, Craig Gordon, Jon McLaughlin, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O’Donnell, Kevin McDonald and Ryan Jack all pulled out, while Kieran Tierney was also missing. It seems probable that the Celtic left-back will miss this game too.
Leigh Griffiths, Steven Naismith and John Souttar were not in contention for the original squad because of injury.
John Fleck has joined up with the squad and comes into contention.
McLeish has stuck with the same starting XI that beat Albania on Saturday.
Confirmed Scotland XI: A McGregor; Paterson, McKenna, Bates, Robertson; C McGregor; Forrest, Armstrong, Christie, Fraser; Fletcher.
|Goalkeepers||Harush, Haimov, Amos|
|Defenders||Yeini, Ben Harush, Tzedek, Dasa, Tawatha, Bitton, Habshi, Taha|
|Midfielders||Natkho, Zahavi, Kayal, Cohen, Peretz, Micha, Glazer|
|Forwards||Sahar, Hemed, Dabour, Saba, Solomon|
Israel are not expected to make big changes from the team that eased past Guatemala at the weekend, although Dia Saba's double off the bench in that match may bring him into the reckoning to start this encounter.
Eyal Golasa has dropped out injured since that clash, while Alon Turgeman and Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano are out too.
Confirmed Israel XI: Harush, Dasa, Yeini, Taha, Ben Harush, Twatha, Peretz, Natcho, Kayal, Dabbur, Zahavi.
Betting & Match Odds
Scotland are favourites ahead of the game, with bet365 offering odds of 3/4 on a home win. Israel can be backed at a price of 9/2, while a draw is 27/10.
Scotland produced an impressive weekend display against Albania to run out 4-0 winners away from home and keep their hopes of Nations League promotion burning. Goals from Ryan Fraser, Steven Fletcher and two from James Forrest gave them a resounding victory, but the focus of their week was always going to come at Hampden, where they face an all-or-nothing situation.
Locked on six points in League C1 with Israel, they trail their opponents due to the 2-1 loss they suffered in Haifa in October – a chastening experience for Alex McLeish and his side, who turned in a wretched performance that day.
Before the Albania victory, hopes were anything but high following a spate of call-offs and injury issues, which reduced the depth of the squad, and McLeish admits that he has had his squad “wrapped in cotton wool” before this clash.
Nevertheless, he carries significant hopes into this game.
“All I'm looking for from every single player is to bring their highest performance level to the game,” he said.
“Does that guarantee 100% a win? Maybe not but I'm pretty optimistic about what happens after that.
“The key for us is not what we think about Israel, it's more about what we do, the mentality we show, the organisation we bring.”
Scotland will face opponents who need only a point to win the group, but who are most used to winning games.
Indeed, they have won all of their last three, including a thumping 7-0 success over Guatemala last Thursday, affording them both confidence and plenty of time to prepare for the Hampden fixture.
“We respect Israel, they've been on a good run of form,” McLeish added. “But we feel very strong here at Hampden and we would love the fans right behind the players from the very first kick of the ball right through to the end.”