Nations League

Scots head to Israel to round off week to remember

Steve Clarke

Chance: Steve Clarke.

Slovakia 1 Scotland 0
League B, Group 2
City Arena, Trnava

Scotland will have to beat Israel on Wednesday if they are to qualify for the Nations League A section as group winners.

Fresh from qualifying for Euro 2020 in the most dramatic of circumstances in Serbia, the Scots slid to defeat in Slovakia to see a nine-game unbeaten run come to an end.

Steve Clarke made eight changes from the famous win over Serbia but despite a good performance, the team couldn’t get the result they were looking for.

Jan Gregus’ deflected first-half strike was enough to give his team their first win in League B Group 2 and it handed the Czech Republic, 1-0 victors over Israel, the chance to pip the Scots to top spot.

A win for the Czechs against Slovakia in midweek would see them finish as group winners if Scotland fail to defeat Israel.

Progress to the top league in the tournament set-up would see Scotland mix it with the game’s elite.

Tougher games, yes, but with them comes the chance of carving out an eventual route to another major finals, with a pathway to the World Cup also a possibility.

Most of the top countries Scotland would likely face should qualify for the Nations League finals from the group section, leaving the possibility of a play-off spot so there is a lot on the line.

“It’s disappointing when your unbeaten run comes to an end,” said Clarke.

“We were a bit wasteful. We had decent chances and definitely deserved something.

“I’ve always said to the players that the three-game window is very intense and you need almost all your players,” he added. “I thought it took us 15-20 minutes to get a foothold in the game and that can come from so many changes.

“But this Nations League section is still in front of us. We go away, regroup and hopefully our next unbeaten run starts on Wednesday.”

Scotland: Gordon, Tierney, Palmer, Considine (Griffiths 68), McKenna, Cooper, McGinn (c), McLean, Armstrong (Shankland 87), Christie, McBurnie.

Unused subs: Marshall, McLaughlin, O’Donnell, Taylor, McTominay, Gallagher, Jack, McGregor, Paterson, Burke.

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