Scotland vs Israel | Thursday 8th October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Remarkably these two nations meet up for the fourth time in just under two years. On this occasion the stakes couldn't be higher – a place in the play-off final for Euro 2020 awaits.
In those recent three head-to-heads, Scotland have won 3-2 and drawn 1-1 at Hampden. Israel came out on top 2-1 in Tel Aviv.
Lyndon Dykes was impressive in his first two games as the focal point for Scotland, first in the home match against Thursday night’s opponents, and then scoring away in the Czech Republic in the last game. With in-form Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn in behind, it looks like there is a genuine goal threat there now for the Scots.
The stand-out player for Israel recently has undoubtedly been Eran Zahavi. His finish for the equaliser in the 1-1 draw was class. Indeed, the PSV striker is on an amazing scoring run for his nation – 14 goals in 14 matches, included in this is two hat-tricks. He has actually scored in 10/14 of those outings.
Zahavi looks a very appetizing price – 13/5 with Unibet to score anytime in this all-or-nothing game.
It's unclear whether Steve Clarke will persevere with three central defenders he utilised in the last couple of games, for this play-off semi-final. Scott McTominay was not the only player who looked a bit uncomfortable playing out of position.
With the little bit of uncertainty at the back for Scotland, add in to the mix that Israel have only kept one clean sheet in their last 13 matches. Both teams from what they've seen of each other in their previous encounters, will fancy their chances.
I like the SkyBet quote of 7/4 for Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals in the match, as it's very much a winner-takes-all situation now.
Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan oversees this clash at Hampden Park.
The experienced whistler is more than adept at producing cards domestically or in Europe:
- In his last 4 Nations League/Euro qualifiers he has averaged 5.5 yellow cards.
- Hategan’s last 12 domestic games have also produced a whopping 58 yellow cards and 5 red cards.
- His three Champions League ties in 2020 – have seen 12 yellow cards and 1 red card.
- 6 of the ref's last 17 matches in all competitions have seen him brandish a red card.
The two ingredients you need are in place for a card-laden match. A high-stakes winner takes all showdown, and a referee that most certainly has multiple cards in his locker. The 6/5 Paddy Power are offering on Over 40 Bookings Points looks worth taking.
Whilst there is no Tartan Army in place at Hampden for this crucial clash, I expect there to be plenty of action on the pitch from these closely matched teams – as they attempt to get closer to that ever- elusive tournament qualification.
Scotland vs Israel – Eran Zahavi to score anytime (13/5 Unibet)
Scotland vs Israel – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (7/4 SkyBet)
Scotland vs Israel – Over 40 Bookings Points (6/5 Paddy Power)