Clarke: Full Hampden will boost Scotland vs Israel

Steve Clarke is “intrigued” to see how a full house at Hampden affects Scotland’s crucial 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Israel on Saturday.

As coronavirus restrictions relax, a crowd of around 50,000 will be at the national stadium for the Group F match.

After a 1-0 victory in Austria last month, Clarke’s side sit in second place behind runaway leaders Denmark and with a play-off spot in their own hands as they prepare to play Israel for the seventh time in three years.

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    Clarke, yet to experience a packed out Hampden as Scotland boss, said: “Recent experiences tell you it is going to be a tight game.

    “There is not a lot between the two countries. It will be a good technical game I think, one we are looking forward to.

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    Highlights of the European Qualifiers Group F match between Austria and Scotland

    “This time we have something a little bit different, we have a full house at Hampden which we haven’t had before.

    “I am intrigued to see if that makes a difference. It is excitement for me, the first time as head coach that I will have experienced a full house at Hampden.

    “I know the players are looking forward to it, I am looking forward to it and hopefully it gives us that little bit extra impetus to go and get the points.”

    The first group match between the sides in Tel Aviv ended in a 1-1 draw, and they also met three times in 2020, with two more draws and Israel coming out on top 1-0 in a Nations League match.

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    Clarke says his side are extremely aware of the threat Israel pose

    But Clarke believes Scotland’s victory in Vienna and Israel’s 5-2 home win over Austria last month set the game up nicely.

    He said: “I have spoken quite a lot about how I feel we have improved over my tenure and I think the Israelis have done the same under their coach. They have done well, they have improved.

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      “Obviously we both had big results against Austria, last time we had a great win in Vienna, Israel had a great result at home to Austria so it has made it interesting.

      “Third seed against fourth seed in the group, and suddenly it is a big game for second place and that is a credit to both nations.”

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