World Cup qualifier

Road to Qatar looking rocky unless Scots up their game

Steve Clarke

Character: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)

Group F
Israel 1 Scotland 1
Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv

The road to Qatar might quickly lead up a cul-de-sac for Scotland unless performances improve.

Just two points from the opening two games is not the return boss Steve Clarke was looking for as he set about qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The draw in Israel followed last week’s 2-2 result at home to Austria.

Although Wednesday’s visit to Hampden Park by the Faroe Islands should present the perfect opportunity for the Scots to record a first win in Group F, their qualifying campaign already looks in trouble with only the group winner guaranteed passage into the finals.

“It’s two points from two games, let’s see what happens later in the group,” said Clarke, whose side will compete in the European Championships in the summer before returning to qualifying action in September after the Faroes clash.

“I can’t foresee the future, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Austria and Denmark are playing midweek so one or both will drop points. We have the Faroe Islands where we need to pick up three points and then the group is wide open again.”

As against the Austrians, Scotland again had to come from behind to take something from the game, Ryan Fraser’s second-half effort cancelling out Dor Peretz’s deserved opener on the stroke of half-time.

“We didn’t start the game well,” said Clarke.

“We had better control after I made a slight tweak. As always, this group showed good character, I thought we were really good second half. A little unlucky to only come away with a point and it’s another point on the road.”

He added: “There were times in the first half it was too easy for the Israelis to get off in the opposition half. It’s normally something we do quite well, but credit them, they got out with the width they had in midfield.

“If we had got to half-time without conceding maybe we could have won the game in the second half. But it is what it is, we take the point and move on.

“We asked the players to step up and show a bit of character to get something out the game and that’s what they did so credit to the players.”

Scotland: Marshall, Hendry (Christie, 46), Hanley, Tierney, O’Donnell. Robertson, McGinn (McLean, 74), McTominay, McGregor, Fraser (Armstrong, 86), Adams (Dykes, 75).

Goals: Israel – Peretz (44); Scotland – Fraser (56).

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