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Steven Reid says Scotland play-off ‘completely different’ to last Israel game

Scotland coach Steven Reid

Steven Reid stressed that Scotland’s game against Israel  at Hampden Park on Thursday night will bear no comparison to their clash last month.

The teams drew 1-1 in their hard-fought Nations League match at the national stadium on September 4 and meet again on Thursday night in a much more important fixture, the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final, with Norway or Serbia away awaiting the winners.

After the visit of Israel, Scotland then host Slovakia and Czech Republic in a Nations League double-header.

Coach Reid, who revealed several players including Nottingham Forest defender Scott McKenna will be monitored for fitness, knows he is facing one of the country’s most important games for years.

The former Republic of Ireland player said: “There’s bits that we’ve analysed and looked at things that we can do better, things that we did well.

“I think there’s going to be a tiny part that may play a part going into the next game but it’s going to be a completely different game.

“It’s a completely different scenario. Everyone knows what’s at stake going into the game on Thursday.

Scotland and Israel have faced each other recently

Scotland and Israel have faced each other recently (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“So there’ll be little bits and pieces that we might pick up on, strengths and weaknesses.

“But it could be to two teams that are slightly different,  it could be two teams changing shaping, who knows? It going to be a game on its own merits.”

Scotland followed up the home draw against Israel with a 2-1 away win over the Czech Republic for a healthy four points from six in their first two Nations League fixtures.

Reid believes the Scotland players will benefit from having games under their belt in the last few weeks.

He said: “I think it is the situation of where the players are at fitness wise.

“You had players that had played the season underway, players that had played no games, players that trained for a couple of days.

“By this stage now we’re getting everyone up to speed for the game, a greater level of match fitness as well so hopefully it’ll be a completely different situation, hopefully a fully-fit squad as best we can be.

“It did feel a little bit like a strange camp the last time with everything that’s gone on in the last few months.

“Now, hopefully, by this time everyone is a little bit more up to speed and ready to go for Israel and then the two Nations League games after.”

Only eight players trained at Scotland’s Oriam camp with others resting and others on their way to join up with the squad following club fixtures played on Sunday.

Reid said: “There’s a few that we’re monitoring, obviously we’re still waiting on a few who played yesterday to meet up in the next couple of hours.

“He (McKenna) is one that we’re, we’re monitoring at the moment.

“We had a mixed group today, few that did a smaller session, smaller numbers.

“A few that are on another recovery day but hopefully by the end of tonight we get a better picture from the clubs from the players coming in of wherever one is at fitness wise.

“We’re still waiting on that decision and, again, once everyone is in the camp and we have spoken to the clubs then we will have a bigger picture in next 24 hours.”