Sammy Ofer Stadium - Nations League
Israel host Scotland in the Nations League on Thursday night, with the visitors looking for back-to-back victories in the early stages of this new tournament. Israel lost both of their matches in the last international break, and Scotland should get the win here.
The teams have only ever faced each other twice. Scotland won both meetings in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup, triumphing 1-0 in Israel before a 3-1 victory back on home soil in the return tie.
Leigh Griffiths has pulled out of the Scotland squad in order to focus on regaining full fitness back at Celtic. Steven Naismith looks set to lead the line, although 22-year-old Swansea striker Oliver McBurnie could get a chance to impress.
Brighton’s Tomer Hemed, who is on loan at QPR this season, is expected to start up front for the home team. Ben Sahar, who started his career at Chelsea, could feature in attack after finding his goalscoring feet back in his homeland.
Israel v Scotland Preview and Predictions
Neither of these teams have too many victories to shout about over recent months, although that’s not entirely unexpected from a Scottish perspective. Alex McLeish has challenged his team with some tough friendlies, which he hopes helps his players in the Nations League.
Scotland beat Albania 2-0 at Hampden Park in their opening fixture last month, which came on the back of a friendly defeat by Belgium. The Tartan Army have also seen their team lose against Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and the Netherlands over the last year, but the quality of that opposition should stand them in good stead against teams like Israel.
The visitors are 85/40 for the victory , and they look a decent bet after winning half of their fixtures in qualifying for this summer’s World Cup. Israel meanwhile are 17/11, so they start as the slight favourites despite only winning one of their last 10 matches.
Andi Herzog’s Blue and Whites haven’t won a match in over a year, with a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein early last October their most recent success. With that in mind, the hosts probably wouldn’t be too disappointed with a draw, and it’s priced at 11/5.
Scotland to win to nil at 4/1
Scotland’s last six victories have all been to nil, and this run could be set to continue against an Israel side who’ve only scored twice in their last eight matches.
Steven Naismith to score first at 17/2
Alex McLeish has told the Hearts striker that he’s his main man, and Naismith comes into this game on the back of five goals in eight Scottish Premiership games this term.