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September 10, 2019
Pat Nevin: Scotland have 'something to get excited about' after beating Israel
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Pat Nevin: Scotland have ‘something to get excited about’ after beating Israel

James Forrest (centre) scored a hat-trick in Scotland’s win over Israel

The “youthful energy” and “vibrancy” of the Scotland side that beat Israel is “something to get excited about”, says former national team winger Pat Nevin.

The tense 3-2 win at Hampden clinched promotion to Nations League B and a secured a place in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals, should the Scots fail to qualify in the traditional manner.

Nevin, who won 28 caps in the 1980s and 90s, was encouraged by the win.

“It’s the way it was done as well. Many have youth on their side,” he said.

“Look at the fact that so many have a devil-may-care attitude and this pace they’ve got about them.”

Manager Alex McLeish had to deal with nine call-offs from his squad before the double header against Albania and Israel.

But two victories meant Scotland topped League C’s Group 1 and Nevin picked out wingers James Forrest – whose hat-trick against Israel took his tally to five goals in two games – and Ryan Fraser for praise.

He also thinks it is promising that central defenders David Bates and Scott McKenna, along with the absent Kieran Tierney and midfielders John McGinn and Ryan Christie, are all in their early 20s.

“There’s a real intensity about the way they play and a vibrancy about the way the team played,” Nevin said.

“There were mistakes and some naivety in some of the defending, but that’s not surprising when the two centre-backs are 22. But all through the team there was such youthful energy.

“Even the ones who aren’t young, like Steven Fletcher, had fantastic games – maybe his best for Scotland.

“We have to remember, though, it was Albania, it was Israel at home. Let’s keep it at a certain level of perspective here.”

‘Can we win six out of 10? Why not?’

Former Scotland defender Willie Miller hopes that winning their Nations League group with a flourish will give Alex McLeish’s side some momentum going into the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Scotland will be among the third seeds for the group-stage draw on 2 December, although reaching the Nations League play-offs gives them a second chance should they fail to qualify.

“If we get a half-decent draw, we’ve got a chance,” Miller said. “Can we win six out of 10 qualifiers? Why not? That’s how I’d like to see us do it, but I’d take it the golden ticket way.

“We’ve given ourselves a chance; that’s the important thing. But being in the third pot gives us a chance to get there the proper way and, if not, we’ve got this fall-back, this safety net, of a play-off.”

Miller, though, pointed out that Scotland had simply justified their top ranking in their group.

“I’m not going to get carried away,” he added. “We are where we should be at the top of the table.”

Source BBC News

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