UEFA Nations League
Scotland 1-1 Israel
Friday, 4 September 2020, kick-off 7:45pm
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Scotland: Ryan Christie (41’)
Israel: Zahavi (73’)
In front of an empty Hampden Park, Scotland and Israel fought out a 1-1 draw in a close encounter.
With the Nations League offering up the chance of a FIFA World Cup play-off spot, Scotland were eager to begin their group in earnest and ended the first half on a high through a Ryan Christie goal.
In the second half it was Israel who began to assert their dominance and they equalised after 73 minutes which led to the points being shared.
Scott McTominay donned the number 2 shirt for the first time and accompanied Scott McKenna and Kieran Tierney in defence. Up front Lyndon Dykes made his Scotland debut.
For Israel there was a familiar face in goals with Hibernian goalkeeper Ofir Marciano starting. The last time Israel faced Scotland, Eran Zahavi was on the scoresheet and he led the line for the visitors once again.
As it happened
It was a cagey opening with both teams becoming accustomed to the unusual surroundings with only cardboard cut outs of fans overlooking the action.
John McGinn was a constant menace for Scotland early on, using his strength to unsettle the Israelis.
Dor Peretz was a threat from midfield for the visitors and he put David Marshall into action for the first time in the game with 34 minutes on the clock but the Derby County goalkeeper dealt with his effort well. At the other end, Calum McGregor unleashed a low drive which whistled just by the post.
With four minutes to go until the break, the match changed. David Marshall was forced into a sensational stop after 41 minutes when a cross found Munas Dabbur at the back post and his header was well saved.
In the following passage of play, McGinn was fouled in the box and a penalty was awarded. Ryan Christie stepped up and rifled it high into the corner of the net in clinical fashion to give Scotland a half time lead.
Much like the first half, the second period proved to be a slow burner too and with Israel having a vocal backing from their substitutes in the stands, they fought desperately for an equaliser.
With 20 minutes remaining Dasa fired in a cross from the right with onrushing Israel forwards inches from touching the ball goalwards. The pressure was beginning to build and it paid off moments later when Zahavi wriggled his way through a ruck of Scotland defenders and rifled home the equaliser.
Scotland will now take on Czech Republic away from home on Monday night at the Andrův stadium in Olomouc in the second Nations League group match. Czech Republic will go into the game on a high having beaten Slovakia 3-1 tonight.
Following that game Scotland will then be next in action in October when they face Israel once again in the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final play-off crunch match. That game will be the first of a triple-header at Hampden Park where Slovakia and Czech Republic will visit Glasgow.
Scotland: Marshall, McTominay, Robertson (C), Jack, McKenna, Tierney, Forrest, McGinn (Armstrong, 79), Dykes (Burke, 74), McGregor, Christie.
Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, McCrorie, Paterson, Fleck, Gallagher, Cooper, McLean, O’Donnell, Palmer, Taylor
Israel: Marciano, Dasa, Tibi, Bitton, Tawatha, Elhamed, Natcho (C), Peretz (Cohen, 72), Solomon (Glazer, 90), Dabbur (Weissman, 79), Zahavi
Unused substitutes: Harush, Nitzan, Dgani, Yeini, Arad, Almog, Elmkies, Abu Hanna, Rikan