Confident Steven Naismith could set Scotland on the path to another away win
Israel look there for the taking
Sky Main Event, 7.45pm Thursday
Steven Naismith is set to lead the line for Scotland in Haifa and he can find the net as Alex McLeish’s men seek to make it two Nations League wins out of two.
With Leigh Griffiths missing the trip to Israel for the League C Group 1 showdown at the Sammy Ofer Stadium, Hearts forward Naismith should get the nod up front.
The former Everton marksman is in top goalscoring form for the Jambos, banging in nine league and cup goals this season, and also for the national side – he was on target in last month’s 2-0 win against Albania.
If Naismith is a decent bet to find the net then the Tartan Army might not be far behind to win the match.
Trusting the Scots on the road always used to be a perilous and costly pursuit but they are getting the hang of away games these days.
In World Cup qualifying they succeeded in Lithuania and Malta and went on to win in Hungary in a friendly. Ignore the summer losses at Mexico and Peru, where their squad was puny and they were up against two powerful sides heading to the finals in Russia.
Israel are a long way from powerful and look there for the taking.
Andi Herzog’s side, beaten 1-0 by an Albanian side the Scots went on to defeat three days later, have lost seven of their last eight. They have won just one home game – against Liechtenstein – in three years and have lost their last three at their rebuilt stadium.
There seems to be little faith in Herzog turning it around, although a warning shot was fired last week by striker Maones Dabour, who bagged two for Salzburg against Celtic in the Europa League. Dabour is in good form for his club – although they are clearly a miles better outfit than his country.
S Naismith first goalscorer
1pt e-w 17-2 bet365
1pt 7-4 Betfred
Star forward Eran Zahavi is injured. Celtic’s Nir Bitton (knee) is still out. Hapoel Be’er Sheva centre-back Shir Tzedek has been recalled after a drugs ban.
Ryan Fraser has withdrawn with an injury, following Leigh Griffiths out of the squad. Tom Cairney has been overlooked. Oli McBurnie and Scott McKenna are recalled.
Israel have been beaten to nil in six of their last eight internationals.
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