Scotland coach Steven Reid insists that the Nations League match against Israel is more than just a trial run for the Euro 2020 play-off between the sides.
The national team squad are preparing for a Nations League double header against Willibald Reitensteiner’s team on Friday and then Czech Republic three days later. The sides were drawn together after Scotland had booked a Euro 2020 play-off place against Israel, a match of huge importance that has now been rescheduled for October 8.
A win in that play-off would put Steve Clarke’s side just 90 minutes away from reaching a major finals for the first time since 1998. Reid acknowledged that meant many would see this weekend’s game framed as a build-up to the more important tie but he says that’s not the case.
“We’re going in it to win the game,” he said. “It’s a question we’ve been asked since the Nations League draw: ‘Would you play a different 11 completely to the one you may be thinking about [for the playoff]?’.
“We know what the Nations League on its own merit means. We’re in this situation with the play-off because of it so we’re going to treat the two games with utmost seriousness and hopefully go out and get two positive results.
“After Friday it’s going to be looking ahead to the Czech game and then we can focus fully on the Israel play-off.”
Clarke will face a tough selection decision on Friday after Oli McBurnie and Lawrence Shankland withdrew from the squad. That could mean a debut for Lyndon Dykes after the Australia-born striker declared his allegiance to Scotland.
Reid said the player would be more than ready to take his first steps on the the international stage.
“He is a player that has been closely monitored for a long period of time,” he said.
“We’re delighted that he has made the decision and is with us. He is a confident character and it’s good to get him involved.
“If you are in the squad you prepare yourself to play. Everyone in the squad has a chance of playing.
“I think he will be ready. He’s up to speed and looking sharp and I think he is going to be in the right frame of mind if he is called upon to hopefully continue the outstanding form he has shown for a long period of time.”