UEFA Nations League - Group C1
Scotland3Israel2

Scotland 3-2 Israel: James Forrest treble wins Nations League group for Alex McLeish's side

James Forrest scores for Scotland against Israel
James Forrest had not scored in his first 24 Scotland appearances but now has five international goals

Scotland clinched a Euro 2020 play-off place and Nations League promotion after a dramatic and angst-ridden night against Israel at Hampden.

Celtic winger James Forrest scored a hat trick - taking his tally to five in two games - to put Alex McLeish's side 3-1 up just after the hour, cancelling out Beram Kayal's surprise opener.

However, with the Scots in control, Eran Zahavi set up a tense conclusion and it took a stunning save from Allan McGregor to stop Tomer Hemed's late, late volley and earn Scotland victory.

The win sets up a potential play-off at Hampden against Finland in March 2020 - with a possible final against Norway or Serbia.

However, those play-off matches will only be necessary should Scotland fail to emerge from the main Euro 2020 qualifiers, for which they will be in the third pot of seeds with the draw made on 2 December.

Scotland also now join the likes of Germany, Croatia and Wales in League B for the next edition of the Nations League after a win that eases the pressure on McLeish after an abject 2-1 defeat in Israel last month.

Forrest keeps on scoring

Celtic's Forrest has the Midas touch right now. Everything he touches turns to goals. Twelve in his past 11 games for club and country is an astonishing statistic for a winger. His composure for all three goals spoke volumes of his burgeoning self-confidence.

It was Stuart Armstrong, though, who dragged Scotland up by their bootlaces as the good feeling built up in Saturday's 4-0 win over Albania threatened to drain away with the Hampden rain.

Following a first quarter dominated by the Israelis, the Southampton midfielder drove the hosts forward. His first foray almost brought a goal for Callum McGregor - a good hand from Ariel Harush denying him.

But shortly afterwards Armstrong burst into the box again. His shot was charged down but fell kindly for Forrest, who lashed it low beyond the keeper to begin the turnaround.

Forrest's second had echoes of the counter-attacking beauty of his second against Albania. Andy Robertson swept the ball forward, Steven Fletcher glanced it into the path of Ryan Christie, who did superbly to bring it under control before looping it towards Forrest, who slotted past Harush.

As impressive as the Scots were beginning to look, they could not begin to breathe easily until Forrest capped a wonderful evening with a delightful third, taking a deft touch from Ryan Fraser's pass before slamming into the net.

But just when it appeared Scotland might coast to victory, they gave Israel hope. Just as they had done when Brighton's Kayal curled in the early opener, they sat off the visitors, allowing Zahavi time and space to hammer the ball past McGregor from outside the box.

The Scotland keeper, though, pulled off an astonishing save with just two minutes to go, showing terrific reflexes to push Hemed's point-blank shot away and ultimately win the game.

Tomer Hemed watches on as his shot is saved by Allan McGregor
Hemed could not get the better of McGregor in the closing stages

'McLeish buys plenty goodwill' - analysis

There was an element of Jekyll and Hyde about this performance - at times brilliant, at others timid and wasteful. But the bottom line was always going to be the result.

It buys McLeish plenty of goodwill and delivers the top-of-the-table finish that could yet be the first step on the way back to a major finals.

He will know as well as anyone that this was the easy bit. Beating Israel felt like a massive achievement on this cold November night, but Scotland will face bigger challenges in the Euro qualifiers and, indeed, in the play-offs, which could culminate in a final against either Norway or Serbia.

But Forrest and his team-mates have earned the right to celebrate this small triumph.

Match stats

  • McLeish has won consecutive matches as Scotland manager for the first time since October 2007, during his first stint in charge
  • Scotland have lost just one of their past 13 competitive home games (W9 D3), remaining unbeaten in each of their past eight (W5 D3)
  • Forrest has scored five goals in his past two games for Scotland after failing to score in his previous 24 appearances
  • He is the first player to score a hat-trick for Scotland since Robert Snodgrass in September 2016 against Malta.
  • Ryan Fraser has been directly involved in 15 goals in 17 appearances for club and country combined in 2018-19 (5 goals, 10 assists)
Final table

Line-ups

Scotland

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Paterson
  • 4Bates
  • 5McKenna
  • 3Robertson
  • 8ArmstrongSubstituted forPhillipsat 76'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 6McGregorBooked at 40mins
  • 10ChristieSubstituted forShinnieat 76'minutes
  • 7Forrest
  • 9FletcherSubstituted forMcTominayat 87'minutes
  • 11Fraser

Substitutes

  • 12Bain
  • 13Fleck
  • 14Hendry
  • 15Shinnie
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 17McTominay
  • 18Phillips
  • 19McBurnie
  • 20Russell
  • 21MacDonald

Israel

  • 1Harush
  • 12Yeini
  • 17TahaBooked at 52minsSubstituted forCohenat 67'minutes
  • 20Ben HarushBooked at 86mins
  • 2Dasa
  • 11PeretzBooked at 70minsSubstituted forSabaat 73'minutes
  • 6Natcho
  • 21Kayal
  • 13TawathaSubstituted forHemedat 85'minutes
  • 9Dabbur
  • 7Zahavi

Substitutes

  • 3Glazer
  • 4Habashi
  • 5Tzedek
  • 8Cohen
  • 10Hemed
  • 14Sahar
  • 15Micha
  • 16Soloman
  • 18Haimov
  • 19Saba
  • 22Bitton
  • 23Amos
Referee:
Tobias Welz
Attendance:
21,281

Match Stats

Home TeamScotlandAway TeamIsrael
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home15
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away8
Fouls
Home7
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Scotland 3, Israel 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Scotland 3, Israel 2.

Offside, Israel. Sheran Yeini tries a through ball, but Tomer Hemed is caught offside.

Tomer Hemed (Israel) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Scott McKenna (Scotland).

Foul by Tomer Hemed (Israel).

Graeme Shinnie (Scotland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Omri Ben Harush (Israel).

Scott McKenna (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Israel. Conceded by Allan McGregor.

Attempt blocked. Eran Zahavi (Israel) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Munas Dabbur.

Booking

Matt Phillips (Scotland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Bibras Natcho (Israel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Matt Phillips (Scotland).

Attempt missed. Almog Cohen (Israel) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Tomer Hemed (Israel) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Beram Kayal.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Scott McTominay replaces Steven Fletcher.

Booking

Omri Ben Harush (Israel) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Omri Ben Harush (Israel).

Graeme Shinnie (Scotland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Israel. Tomer Hemed replaces Taleb Tawatha.

Corner, Israel. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

Offside, Scotland. Ryan Fraser tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Ryan Fraser (Scotland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by James Forrest following a fast break.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Matt Phillips replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Graeme Shinnie replaces Ryan Christie.

Goal!

Goal! Scotland 3, Israel 2. Eran Zahavi (Israel) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Bibras Natcho.

Attempt missed. Diaa Saba (Israel) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Israel. Diaa Saba replaces Dor Peretz.

Corner, Israel. Conceded by Callum Paterson.

Booking

Dor Peretz (Israel) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ryan Christie (Scotland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Dor Peretz (Israel).

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Callum Paterson.

Substitution

Substitution, Israel. Almog Cohen replaces Loai Taha.

Corner, Israel. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

Goal!

Goal! Scotland 3, Israel 1. James Forrest (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ryan Fraser.

Corner, Israel. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

Foul by Callum Paterson (Scotland).

Beram Kayal (Israel) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands42118447
2France42114407
3Germany402237-42

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland430114599
2Belgium43019639
3Iceland4004113-120

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal42205328
2Italy41212205
3Poland402246-22

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England42116517
2Spain420212756
3Croatia4112410-64

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ukraine43015509
2Czech Rep42024406
3Slovakia41035503

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sweden42115327
2Russia42114317
3Turkey410347-33

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bos-Herze431051410
2Austria42113217
3Northern Ireland400427-50

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark42204138
2Wales42026516
3R. of Ireland402215-42

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Scotland430110469
2Israel42026516
3Albania410318-73

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Finland640253212
2Hungary631296310
3Greece630345-19
4Estonia611448-44

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norway641172513
2Bulgaria632175211
3Cyprus612359-45
4Slovenia603358-33

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia6420114714
2Romania633083512
3Montenegro62137617
4Lithuania6006316-130

M

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Georgia65101221016
2Kazakhstan61328716
3Latvia604226-44
4Andorra604229-74

N

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belarus64201001014
2Luxembourg6312114710
3Moldova623145-19
4San Marino6006016-160

O

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Kosovo64201521314
2Azerbaijan62317619
3Faroe Islands6123510-55
4Malta6033514-93

P

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Macedonia6501145915
2Armenia6312148610
3Gibraltar6204515-106
4Liechtenstein6114712-54
View full UEFA Nations League tables

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