MX23RW : Thursday, June 20 11:58:33| >> :600:18253859:18253859:
Nov 20, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Hampden Park
Attendance: 21,281
Scotland
3-2
IsraelIsrael
Forrest (34', 43', 64')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Kayal (9'), Zahavi (75')

Forrest seals Scotland victory with hat-trick against Israel

Forrest seals Scotland victory with hat-trick against Israel
© Reuters
The Celtic winger continued his fine run of scoring form in his side's 3-2 Nations League win at Hampden Park.

James Forrest put the seal on Scotland's emphatic 4-0 win over Albania with a Shkoder double but Alex McLeish needed a repeat performance as his side went in search of the win over Israel that would book a Nations League play-off slot.

Here Press Association Sport's Andy Newport assesses the Celtic winger's performance.

Goal threat

James Forrest
(Jane Barlow/PA)

The Parkhead wideman was on a high after scoring twice against the Albanians and he carried on his hot streak with a deadly hat-trick. He made a mess of his first opening, swinging at fresh air as skipper Andy Robertson picked him out at the back post with a stunning cross. But Forrest refused to late that shake his confidence and provided the Scots with a precious equaliser after 35 minutes as a Stuart Armstrong strike rebounded into his path, taking a touch before rifling past Ariel Harush. It was a similar outcome eight minutes later as Ryan Christine slotted him through on goal, with Forrest producing another cool finish to put Scotland ahead. And he again needed only one touch before lashing home his third on 64 minutes to seal a vital win for McLeish's side.

Creativity

James Forrest
(Jane Barlow/PA)

The Hoops ace may have been running rings round the Israelis in the box but he found room out wide hard to come by at times as the visitors looked to double mark him. He did fashion a chance for himself in the first half as he drove past two challenges before seeing a shot deflected away from goal. He then sent in a couple of dangerous crosses after the break for Steven Fletcher but the Sheffield Wednesday striker was unable to take advantage, while Ryan Fraser could only fire over after Forrest sent him galloping in behind with a terrific long pass.

Work-rate

James Forrest
(Jane Barlow/PA)

With Scotland lacking a natural sitting midfielder it was vital every member of McLeish's side took their turn to close space and track down runners and Forrest did his share of the graft work. While the likes of Eli Dasa, Dor Peretz and Beram Kayal were giving the hosts problems with their movement off the ball, Forrest was reasonably untroubled by left-back Taleb Tawatha. Put in a couple of big sprints in the last five minutes to help take the pressure off as Israel desperately chased an equaliser.

Overall

James Forrest
(Jane Barlow/PA)

It is amazing to think there was no place for the 27-year-old only a month ago as McLeish persisted with his contentious 3-5-2 formation. Yet having failed to find the net in any of his previous 24 outings for the national team, the manager could be forgiven for having concerns about his ability to transfer his red-hot displays for Celtic into a dark blue jersey. It is safe to say those doubts are gone for good now after extending his recent tally to 12 goals in 11 games for club and country.

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Scotland manager Gordon Strachan reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier between Scotland and Poland at Hampden Park on October 08, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland.
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