Scotland face Israel tonight in World Cup qualifying, a sentence we have now typed out four times this season.

Steve Clarke’s side kicked off qualifying on the road to Qatar with a 2-2 draw with Austria, Aston Villa man McGinn’s spectacular overhead kick after a lobbed ball from Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie sealing a point at Hampden.


The Aston Villa man scored a bicycle kick ahead of Scotland v Israel. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Now Israel away from home awaits in a game Clarke’s side could be doing with three points in. Here’s who we think will start the match against familiar foes.

Formation – 3-5-2

A formality at this stage, this is the formation and system of choice for Clarke. It seems to be working, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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Goalkeeper – Marshall

Another almost-guarantee in this side, Marshall is Clarke’s number one in the big matches. It would be a huge shock to see either Craig Gordon or Jon McLaughlin start.

Defence – McKenna, Hanley, Tierney

We believe Jack Hendry will be replaced by Scott McKenna in this XI. The Nottingham Forest defender can carry the ball and is more suited to being on the right of the back three, opposed to the likes of Hanley and Declan Gallagher, who deal with physical threats in the centre.

Scotland v Austria - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

The Celtic player may be dropped. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Wing-backs/Midfield – O’Donnell, McTominay, McGregor, Armstrong, Robertson

The wing-backs in this system pick themselves at this stage but midfield again sees some change. Callum McGregor replaces Celtic teammate Christie with Clarke perhaps opting to go slightly more defensive away from Hampden.

Attack – McGinn, Dykes

You might wonder why we have McGinn here but there’s method to our madness. Clarke has said pre-match that McGinn can be used as a support-striker. As alluded to in the midfield, he may go more defensive away from home, and the Aston Villa man could shift position slightly to give Lyndon Dykes a hand in leading the forward line.

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