MX23RW : Thursday, June 17 18:41:29| >> :60:693:693:
Oct 8, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Hampden Park

McGinn (58'), Fraser (105+2'), Paterson (120')

Natcho (13'), Bitton (56'), Weissman (88')
Scotland win 5-3 on penalties

Preview: Scotland vs. Israel - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifying playoff between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park, including team news and predicted lineups.

Scotland step up their bid to reach a first major tournament in 23 years on Thursday evening when they host Israel in a Euro 2020 qualifying playoff tie at Hampden Park.

The winners of the semi-final will take on either Norway or Serbia for a place in next year's rearranged finals to be staged across Europe - including some games in Glasgow.

Match preview

Scotland and Israel have got to know each other quite well over the past couple of years, having also met in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 UEFA Nations League tournaments.

In fact, they last met less than a month ago when playing out a 1-1 draw at an empty Hampden Park, with Eran Zahavi's impressive strike cancelling out Ryan Christie's penalty.

They will also face off in Netanya next month in the reverse fixture, but the Nations League is not what these two sides are focussed on right now.

This playoff semi-final was originally set to be played in March, and then June, only for the coronavirus pandemic to wreak havoc on the footballing calendar.

As well as playing out a draw with Israel in their first match back after a 10-month hiatus, Scotland also beat the Czech Republic's reserves 2-1 in Olomouc.

Scotland's Ryan Christie celebrates with teammates after scoring against Czech Republic on September 7, 2020© Reuters

The Czechs had to field an entirely new squad of players due to coronavirus restrictions and Scotland just about got the job done to top their Nations League group.

That victory makes it five games without defeat for Clarke's men since a run of five defeats on the spin, which ended their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 directly.

Israel are also having to do things the hard way, having finished fifth in their qualifying group. Like Scotland, they had a half-decent Nations League campaign to fall back on.

The Blue and Whites drew 1-1 with Slovakia in their most recent match four weeks ago and have now won just one of their last nine matches since June 2019.

As Israel showed at Hampden Park last month, though, they certainly cannot be taken lightly in this one-legged semi-final, particularly when the stakes are so high.

Scotland form (all competitions): LWWWDW

Israel form (all competitions): LWLLDD

Team News

Israel's Eran Zahavi celebrates scoring against Scotland on Septmeber 4, 2020© Reuters

Clarke defended his choice of formation after last month's fixtures and this week hinted that he will stick with a back three, allowing him to cram in Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson.

Liam Palmer started on the opposite flank to Robertson last time out but is now nursing a back injury, so Clarke may be tempted to tweak things rather than fitting square pegs into a round hole.

Lyndon Dykes and Christie led the line against Israel and Czech Republic in September and that is likely to be the case here, with Ryan Fraser also now back in contention out wide.

As for the visitors, they have been dealt a big blow as two of their starters from last month's game in Glasgow have been ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus.

Left-back Taleb Tawatha and central midfielder Dor Peretz will play no part, forcing Willibald Ruttensteiner to shuffle his pack.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Mohammad Abu Fani, who made the news for comments made about Harry Kane earlier this month, and Dan Bitton have been called up for the first time.

Scotland possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Tierney, Cooper, McKenna, Robertson; McTominay, McGregor, McGinn; Fraser, Dykes, Christie

Israel possible starting lineup:
Marciano; Dasa, Bitton, Tibi, Elhamed, Glazer; Cohen, Natcho, Solomon; Zahavi, Dabbur

SM words green background

We say: Scotland 1-1 Israel (2-1 AET)

The sides have shared a win apiece and a draw in their three meetings over the past two campaigns, suggesting that this should be a very tight match.

Scotland may have home advantage but that counts for little these days, though we are still backing them to edge this one in a game that could go the distance.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke pictured on September 4, 2020
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