Scotland and Israel once again starred in qualifying, this time as both countries battled for the upper hand in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay alongside Steve Clarke.
Willibald Ruttensteiner’s side tried to silence Hampden Park’s raucous crowd as they looked for second place and the all-important playoff spot at the expense of the Tartan Army.
It was the 24-year-old’s first appearance since the European Championship, after missing the international’s final round with a groin injury, which forced him out of victories over Moldova and Austria and defeat to Denmark.
The Scots emphasized Israel’s weakness in the air by taking advantage of Lyndon Dykes and McTominay’s height, with both players giving problems from the offset.
That didn’t stop the visitors from taking the lead after a brilliant free kick by Eran Zahavi.
But fans noticed a bizarre tactic carried out by the former West Brom, which resulted in the Reds midfielder receiving corner kicks.
Aston Villa’s John McGinn equalized with an excellent curling attempt into the top corner, but parity was only temporarily restored as Munas Dabbur fiddled home after the pinball machine fell on the Hoffenheim attacker in the Scotland box.
But just before half-time, they were awarded a penalty after Billy Gilmour was just clattered into the penalty area after McGinn’s corner was partially knocked out.
Dykes, however, stepped up and fired through the middle to see his shot saved through Ofir Marciano’s feet.
Clarke’s confidence in McTominay has persisted on Saturday afternoon despite his injury problems, although he has featured prominently since his return to fitness, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues to tinker to find his best XI bedding on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
Three points were absolutely necessary for Scotland as they wanted to keep pressure on Denmark’s qualification. With three games to go, they end their campaign at home against Kasper Hjulmand’s side in mid-November.