Scotland 3-2 Israel: Nations League – as it happened

Last modified: 10: 02 PM GMT+0

A hat-trick from James Forrest earned Scotland promotion from League C on a thrilling night at Hampden Park

I’ll leave you with Ewan Murray’s match report from Hampden Park. Bye!

Ryan Christie speaks! “A lot was said about the Nations League but we’ve got promotion and a play-off. That gives a lot of momentum and confidence going into the games to come. We’re scoring plenty of goals and against Albania we were delighted to keep a clean sheet.”

James Forrest speaks! “It was a great night. Going one goal behind really took a lot out of the boys but we showed great character. I just keep working hard and the manager always just keep grounded and be hungry for more. I just have to get more caps and more goals for my club and my country. The position you play, that’s part of your job, contributing goals and assists.”

Scotland leave the pitch after a lap of honour. They’re in Division B. With Germany!

Well that was dramatic. Let’s say it again: you’ve got to love the Nations League. Scotland are enjoying these celebrations on and off the pitch. They deserve it. They’ve won promotion to Division B and earned themselves a Euro 2020 play-off, which is something to be proud of. James Forrest was the hero, scoring a hat-trick after Beram Kayal’s early stunner for Israel, and Alan McGregor also made a crucial save from Tomer Hemed after the visitors had pulled one back.

Andrew Robertson and teammates applaud the fans after the match.
Andrew Robertson and teammates applaud the fans after the match. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters


Full-time: Scotland 3-2 Israel

That’s it! Scotland have done it!

90 min+4: Hemed wins a free-kick just inside Scotland’s half. One last chance in the driving rain. Harush is up. Natcho sends it in. McTominay hoofs it clear.

90 min+1: Zahavi’s deflected shot hits Bates and spins out for a corner, McGregor unable to claim the ball before it runs behind. The pressure is relentless here. The corner’s cleared but Israel put the ball back in. Fraser tears back to win it.

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

89 min: It’s tense now! That really was a marvellous save from McGregor.

88 min: A long ball over the top catches Scotland out and reaches Hemed, who lifts an acrobatic volley towards the top corner. It looks a certain goal, only for McGregor to show stunning reflexes and push it aside. Much to the Scotland goalkeeper’s relief, the rebound’s slashed across the six-yard box. What an escape!

87 min: Scott McTominay replaces Steven Fletcher. It’s pouring now.

85 min: Tomer Hemed replaces Tawatha. He’s on just in time for an Israel corner. McGregor flaps at it a bit, but Scotland hack the ball clear.


81 min: As nervy as Scotland are, Israel are yet to make them sweat.

78 min: Scotland break in a bid to calm their nerves, but Fraser fires over under pressure.

76 min: Scotland make a double change, Matt Phillips and Graeme Shinnie replacing Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie.

It isn’t over yet. Zahavi collects possession 25 yards from goal, turns and whips a fine shot past the flatfooted Alan McGregor, who can only watch the ball zoom to his right. It might have taken a touch off McKenna. Either way, Israel have hope. They only need one more goal.

GOAL! Scotland 3-2 Israel (Zahavi, 75 min)

Hang on!

Eran Zahavi pulls a goal back and celebrates with Bibras Natcho.
Eran Zahavi pulls a goal back and celebrates with Bibras Natcho. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images


74 min: Seba almost scores straight away, only to drag his shot wide after taking a touch to set himself.

73 min: Seba replaces Peretz.

71 min: Harush punches Fraser’s free-kick away. But back come Scotland, with the rampant Forrest surging down the outside on the left. He hangs a cross over Harush, but no one’s there when Fletcher heads back across goal.

70 min: Peretz slides through the back of Callum McGregor on the right. Booking.

69 min: Forrest has another go after cutting inside from the left, but this time his shot whistles over from 25 yards.

67 min: The Sky commentator lets us know that James Forrest is the first Celtic player to score a hat-trick for Scotland since Jimmy Quinn against Ireland 110 years ago. Almog Cohen replaces Taha.

This is another neat goal from Scotland. They press on the left and spy an opening when Robertson slides a pass through to Fraser. The Bournemouth winger wriggles into the area and slips a pass inside to Forrest, who takes a deft touch to leave Ben Harush on the floor and set himself up for another confident finish from close range. He’s been so composed in front of goal this evening and that’s the reason Scotland look set to finish first in this group.

GOAL! Scotland 3-1 Israel (Forrest, 64 min)

James Forrest completes his hat-trick!

James Forrest slots the ball home for his hat-trick.
James Forrest slots the ball home for his hat-trick. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters


62 min: Scotland deal with Zahavi’s corner. Israel have been very disappointing since half-time.

58 min: Harush palms Fraser’s free-kick from the right away. It’s all Scotland at the moment.

56 min: Fletcher slams a shot miles wide from a ludicrous angle.

53 min: Paterson’s deflected shot spins wide for a corner on the left. Fletcher glances Fraser’s delivery over.

52 min: Taha picks up a booking for cynically stopping a Scotland counterattack.

49 min: Zahavi’s deflected shot fizzes over for a corner.

48 min: Fraser drives a low ball into the six-yard box. Harush plunges on it.

46 min: Israel, who need a goal to salvage their campaign, get the second half underway.

Half-time: Scotland 2-1 Israel

Scotland lead thanks to a clinical double from James Forrest. After an awful start, they’re 45 minutes away from a Euro 2020 play-off spot!

45 min: There will be two added minutes.

A long ball’s pumped forward towards Steven Fletcher. What the striker needs is someone running off him - and that’s precisely what Christie offers here. Christie surges forward, into space on the left, and he has the composure to loft the ball into the path of the unmarked Forrest. The winger is never going to miss. He takes a touch and drills another low shot past Harush. It’s his fourth goal in a week and Scotland have turned this match on its head!

GOAL! Scotland 2-1 Israel (Forrest, 43 min)


James Forrest slots another low show past Harush.
James Forrest slots another low show past Harush. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters


40 min: Callum McGregor picks up a booking for a late tackle on Dabbur.

37 min: Scotland deserved that. They’ve dominated the last 15 minutes and got their reward. Israel are still a threat on the break, though.

The pressure had been building and now Scotland are level. Armstrong was at the heart of it again, making room on the edge of the Israel area for a firm shot that hits a defender and falls to Forrest. The winger takes a touch and spanks the ball past Harush from 15 yards. A cracking finish. Israel, however, are still top of the group.

GOAL! Scotland 1-1 Israel (Forrest, 34 min)

It’s been coming.

James Forrest shoots hard and low for the equaliser.
James Forrest shoots hard and low for the equaliser. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA


31 min: Buoyed by this little spell of pressure, Scotland attack again and the volume rises when Forrest shakes off his marker with a brilliant turn and drives into the Israel area. For a moment he looks certain to score - but his shot’s deflected wide for another corner.

30 min: Another corner to Scotland. This time Fraser flings it in. McKenna throws himself at the ball but his header’s blocked and Israel clear their lines.

29 min: Yeini slides to stop the ball running out for a Scotland corner. The flag goes up anyway. He’s annoyed. Not that Scotland can rub salt int the wound, bungling a short corner.

28 min: Christie bursts down the right, but his deflected cross drops into Harush’s gloves.

26 min: Bates faffs around with the ball on the halfway line, loses it and leaves a big gap in the heart of Scotland’s defence. He’s lucky Zahavi doesn’t turn and run through on goal when the ball comes to him. Instead the Israeli striker slows the move down and ends up passing to Robertson.

22 min: Scotland inject some urgency into their attack, Armstrong bursting down the left and spreading concern in Israel’s defence. Fraser takes over and works it inside to Fletcher, who has the ball whipped off his toes before he can shoot. Callum McGregor picks up possession 25 yards out and tries to do a Kayal, but Harush pushes his fine effort wide.

Ariel Harush pushes Callum McGregor’s shot wide.
Ariel Harush pushes Callum McGregor’s shot wide. Photograph: Stuart Wallace/BPI/REX/Shutterstock


20 min: Tawatha, who’s having a good game on the left, pings a cross to the far post. Conscious that Zahavi’s lurking over his shoulder, Robertson guides it behind.


19 min: Israel break and Dasa slides a clever ball through to Peretz. It’s just overhit, though, and Peretz ends up sliding to bring down McKenna.

15 min: The Scotland fans aren’t happy at the moment. The home team are struggling to string two passes together. In the stands, meanwhile, an Israeli fan is having a read. I should know the name of the book, but I’m a self-hating Jew.

13 min: Israel are running this. Dabbur scoots down the left and threatens to twist and turn past Bates, only to overrun the ball at the vital moment. Bates was a bit lucky not to bring him down.

Israel play the ball around patiently outside Scotland’s area. Scotland think they have the situation under control and stand off the visitors. That, however, invites Beram Kayal to shoot from 25 yards and the Brighton midfielder’s effort swerves towards the top left corner and flies beyond the despairing dive of Alan McGregor.

GOAL! Scotland 0-1 Israel (Kayal, 9 min0

This is some goal.

Israel’s Beram Kayal is not closed down as he fires in the opening goal.
Israel’s Beram Kayal is not closed down as he fires in the opening goal. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters


8 min: Tawatha breaks down the left and drills a low cross into the Scotland area. Callum McGregor cuts it out.


6 min: Remember when Steven Fletcher scored five goals in his first four games for Sunderland? Heady days.

4 min: A tight start.

2 min: Nothing comes from Dabbur’s corner.

Peep! With the anthems out of the way, Scotland get the game underway. They look to make a fast as they kick from left to right, Forrest teeing up Christie 25 yards from goal. Christie scuffs his shot and Israel counter, Tawatha winning a corner on the left.


Here come the teams! Hampden Park awaits a classic night of Nations League.

Team news

Scotland: A McGregor; Paterson, Bates, McKenna, Robertson; Forrest, C McGregor, Armstrong, Fraser; Christie; Fletcher.

Israel: Harush; Dasa, Yeini, Taha, Ben Harush, Tawatha; Peretz, Natcho, Kayal; Zahavi, Dabbur.

Referee: Tobias Welz (Germany).



Hello. You’ve got to love the Nations League. In different circumstances, these would be grim times for Scotland. If Uefa had chosen to keep the status quo intact, it’s unlikely that a couple of wins over Albania would have made Scottish fans feel so optimistic. Instead they’d be focusing on a run of three defeats in their past five games, Belgium, Portugal and Israel meting out the damage, and talking about whether Alex McLeish deserves to be replaced by Craig Levein. Nobody would be excited about this evening’s home game against Israel, that’s for sure.

Yet the quirky format of the Nations League, the competition that keeps on giving, means that those wins over Albania have given Scotland a chance of earning a Euro 2020 play-off spot. That’s quite the incentive for a country that hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, though let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Scotland still need to beat Israel to guarantee they finish top of Group C1. No point tempting fate. Having emerged victorious when the sides met in Haifa last month, Israel only need a draw to hold on to first place and gain promotion to Division B.

Kick-off: 7.45pm GMT.



Jacob Steinberg

The GuardianTramp

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