Ryan Jack urges Scotland to lay down a marker against Israel

Rangers midfielder wants to dominate opponents ahead of Euro 2021 play-off
Scotland's Ryan Jack heads out for training at Oriam. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNSScotland's Ryan Jack heads out for training at Oriam. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Scotland's Ryan Jack heads out for training at Oriam. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Ryan Jack has urged Scotland to impose their authority on Israel at Hampden on Friday night and set the tone for the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final between the countries next month.

The revised international calendar means Scotland are kicking off their new Uefa Nations League campaign before the completion of the European Championship qualifying process which was postponed due to Covid-19.

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Rangers midfielder Jack admits it provides an unusual backdrop to this week’s Nations League Group B2 opener against the Israelis who are then scheduled to return to Hampden for the delayed Euro 2020 play-off tie on 10 October. But Jack, hoping to win his fifth Scotland cap on Friday, believes it is an opportunity for Steve Clarke’s squad to secure a psychological edge against their rivals.

“It’s definitely a chance to lay down a marker,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s a bit strange that we are going to have a game against Israel before the play-off match.

“But it will give both teams a chance to look at each other. So it’s up to us to lay down a marker and say ‘This is what’s to come (next month)’.

“It’s important we get a couple of positive results during this international break, on Friday against Israel and then in the Czech Republic next Monday, and take all that momentum forward into the play-off.”

With the Euro 2020 finals put back a year to the summer of 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic, Scotland’s latest bid to qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1998 has been extended.

Jack feels he and his team-mates are in a fortunate position and is bullish about their prospects of beating Israel next month and then overcoming either Norway or Serbia away from home inthe play-off final on 12 November.

“It is a great opportunity for us to really go and stamp our authority and show that we can be the ones that can take the country to a major finals,” he added. “For us, the ones that are in the squad just now, we are the lucky ones that have got the chance to do that. The mentality going forward is to have a really strong couple of performances during this international break and then lead into next month. We know that is going to be make or break. As players, that is what you want to be involved in and I am sure, as players, we can step up and stamp our authority on it.”

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