Alan Pattullo: Israel’s return to the Euro fray is utterly ridiculous

Israel manager Andreas Herzog will be returning to Hampden for the play-off semi-final. Picture: SNS
Israel manager Andreas Herzog will be returning to Hampden for the play-off semi-final. Picture: SNS
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One of the most vivid memories of last year’s trip to Israel to watch Scotland was just how down on their side the local media were.

I remember thinking: “If Alex McLeish reckons he has it bad…” Scotland then eliminated Israel from the qualifying equation – or at least were presumed to have done so – the following month after a 3-2 win at Hampden. And that, you supposed, would be that for their manager Andi 
Herzog.

But here they are again, a potentially hazardous obstacle on the road to Euro 2020 – just as they were last November – and with Herzog still in charge. Yes, football’s a funny game. But this seems utterly ridiculous.

They’ve squeezed back into the reckoning as the best ranked team in League C of the inaugural Nations League groups. Enough group winners qualified automatically.

And Scotland are the ones who have changed manager. Steve Clarke could do worse than ask McLeish for his tactical notes for what now appears to have been the not so do-or-die clash with Israel last November, when a James Forrest hat-trick helped send the visitors packing – or so we thought.