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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Time for us to reverse our fortunes in Israel. We have real quality and nothing to fear

© SNS Group / SFAScott McTominay impressed against Austria and will be hoping to get the victory in Israel tonight
Scott McTominay impressed against Austria and will be hoping to get the victory in Israel tonight

We are set play Israel today for the sixth time in less than three years.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke and his players are away from home for this one and on the previous two visits we have lost.

We need to change that and come away with at least a point.

Ideally, we want to be flying home with three points in the bag as that would give everyone a real spring in their step ahead of the home game against the Faroe Islands on Wednesday night.

I was fortunate enough to score a winning goal against Israel, it was 40 years ago last month, in a World Cup qualifier on our way to the Finals in Spain.

There’s no reason not to think we can’t beat this current team. They have just lost at home to Denmark and we can inflict similar damage.

With some serious quality in our team, we have nothing to fear.

© SNS Group
John McGinn fires home his stunning Hampden equaliser last Thursday night

You look at having Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Kieran Tierney and Stuart Armstrong all operating at the highest level in England.

The five of them are outstanding footballers. They may well be called upon to produce the goods today and they will give their all.

We also had four EPL players on the bench – Ryan Fraser, Che Adams, John Fleck and Oli McBurnie.

Sprinkle Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Lyndon Dykes and Kenny McLean in there and you can see why I am optimistic.

Just look at the quality of McGinn’s goal against Austria. It was very impressive athleticism and awareness. It was an unbelievable finish and a goal out of nothing.

As much as wanted to win last midweek, we can’t overlook the level of opposition. The Austrian team is full of players operating at the highest level in the German Bundesliga.

They were a step up from the likes of Serbia and Israel.

But I thought we played well and passed the ball at a good pace. It was an improvement on our previous two games.

© SNS Group
Sir Kenny secured a 1-0 win on World Cup qualifying duty 40 years ago

McTominay caught my eye. He played in the middle of the park, rather than in the back three, and he was first-class. He read the game well, passed the ball well and had a real presence.

He deserved to be in a winning team but we conceded goals at bad times. That said, we showed tremendous courage and fighting spirit to keep going until the end.

At 1-1 we looked as though we were ready to take the lead and then we were caught with a sucker punch. But McGinn delivered that sensational blow to get us a valuable point.

The other positive about the likes of McGinn, McTominay and Armstrong is that they can play different positions, Steve moved John and Stuart around on Thursday and it worked well.

As long as the boys don’t end up being confused with too many tactical changes, it’s key to have personnel on the pitch who are flexible and limits having to make substitutions.

Steve Clarke and his skipper, Andy Robertson

I’m sure that when we reflect on the opening three games of this 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, we will see a number of players being used by Steve.

That’s the way it is and that’s why he has a big squad.

But many of the players are used to playing three games in six days, so if he needs to keep a core of five or six in his starting line-up for every game then he will.

By the time the full-time whistle blows on Wednesday, it would be great to finish it off with seven points.

I expect us to beat the Faroes but we can’t take anything for granted. They got a point against Moldova, so they are improving.

They will be well organised against us and hard to break down. We will need to be patient.

But we do have players with the tactical knowledge and ability to get in behind and pull them apart at the back.

It could be the perfect game for Dykes and Adams to play together. That might be in Steve’s thoughts.

At least Adams has now been capped and there is no need to be anxious about that situation anymore.

I think he will do very well for Scotland and it was good to see Lyndon on the scoresheet for QPR last weekend.

That will have given him a massive boost and I thought he was going to score against Austria when he intercepted an attempted pass by keeper Alexander Schlager.

He laid it off to Christie but his shot was saved to deny us the opening goal. We should also have had a penalty when Christie was wrestled to the ground.

Overall, a draw was about right. But we need to start winning games to give us the best possible chance of qualifying for Qatar next year.