Pedro Martinez Losa: Scotland can't control situation around Israel match

The national team boss says his personal feelings over the issue are not relevant.

Pedro Martinez Losa: Scotland can’t control situation around Israel match SNS Group

Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa says his personal feelings about playing against Israel are irrelevant and he has to focus on leading the team to victory in the upcoming qualifiers.

The national team face Israel at Hampden on May 31 and then away five days later in a match that UEFA has moved to Bucharest.

Pro-Palestine protests are expected at the home match in Glasgow as people make their feelings known on the conflict, with the Scottish FA putting restrictions on ticket purchases to minimise any potential disruption.

Tickets for the Hampden clash will only be available to Scotland Supporters Club members or people who have attended any of the last four home games.

Martinez Losa says he can’t do anything about the spotlight or potential protests, and his priority has to be shielding the players so that they can keep their attention solely on vital qualifying games.

“That is an aspect we cannot control,” the coach said.

“As a head coach, I am not in control of these circumstances. We have to remain focused on qualifying for the Euros, giving the best to the team and protecting the players so we can perform at the best level.

“Where UEFA has put us in the position where we have to play these games and Israel is in the group. We cannot control anything else.”

Martinez Losa revealed that the circumstances surrounding the games will be discussed with senior players ahead of the matches and brushed off questions about whether he was comfortable facing Israel given the current conflict.

“We talk at the start of every camp and analyse the challenge we are about to face,” he said. “On this occasion we will discuss with the leadership group, the captains and the staff what is necessary to make sure we have the best scenario to compete at home and away.

“Whether I’m comfortable or not from my personal view, the job has to be done for Scotland and I remain focused on that.”

The Spaniard was speaking as he revealed his squad for the upcoming games.

Aston Villa striker Kirsty Hanson and Tottenham forward Martha Thomas return to the squad after missing the opening two games of the campaign.

The pair are joined in the squad by Rangers winger Rachel McLauchlan following injury.

Glasgow City’s Lauren Davidson and Celtic’s Amy Gallacher drop out, while Manchester City goalkeeper Sandy MacIver, AC Milan midfielder Christy Grimshaw and Glasgow City forward Fiona Brown are all longer-term absentees with ACL injuries.

Scotland currently sit second in their qualifying group after drawing away to Serbia and winning 1-0 against Slovakia in their opening matches.

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