Israel manager Andi Herzog has revealed he has extra motivation to desire a much-needed win for his side against Scotland tonight – he had his shoulder dislocated by Alex McLeish nearly 30 years ago.
Herzog sustained the painful injury when a 21-year-old at Rapid Vienna during a Uefa Cup first-round encounter against Aberdeen in 1989. McLeish was the culprit after crashing in from behind Herzog in an attempt to win the ball.
The striker got a measure of revenge since Rapid Vienna progressed to the next round on away goals after losing 2-1 at Pittodrie and winning 1-0 in Austria. “I know a lot about Scottish football, especially the coach, Alex McLeish,” Herzog said yesterday.
“I played against him as a young player when he played for Aberdeen and I was at Rapid Vienna. In the home game against Aberdeen he tackled me from behind and I dislocated my shoulder – this was my first experience! And I see him again tomorrow.
“This is just a funny part but then I know the Scottish teams are always tough to beat,” he added.
“They have a great mentality and I played against them in the Under-21 championships – they were always close games and I expect the same tomorrow. But if we have the passion and patience sometimes to do the right things and forward faster than against Northern Ireland then I think we will cause some problems for the Scottish backline.”
Tonight is Herzog’s first home game since taking over as Israel manager in August. The 50-year-old was previously an assistant manager to Jurgen Klinsmann with the United States and is regarded as one of Austria’s finest-ever players.
He earned 103 caps for his country and won the Bundesliga title with Werder Bremen. Herzog, pictured, is now desperate to secure his first win as Israel manager after defeats against Albania and Northern Ireland in his first two games.
“The key to us is to match the intensity of the Scottish team,” he said. “I am convinced me will have a good game tomorrow. It is my first home game with my team so of course I would like to see us winning.”
After losing their opening Nations League qualifier against Albania, Israel need to win tonight to resuscitate their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
“We should really have at least one point more,” he said. “Scotland have good qualities but some weaknesses too.
“We know if we want a chance to qualify we have to win.”