Scotland play Israel in their next Nations League game tomorrow night – and Alex McLeish has plenty to consider when it comes to his starting XI.
The Tartan Army manager has now been in charge for six games after replacing Gordon Strachan in February.
And his most recent game was perhaps his most impressive, beating Albania 2-0 in their Nations League opener.
A victory over Israel would put Scotland in a strong position in their group so McLeish should be looking to name as strong a team as possible for the trip to Haifa.
But who will he go for? Here we predict his starting XI:
It worked for McLeish against Albania and he’s used it before that game too – so we expect he’ll stick with it against Israel. It fits the players he has at his disposal and allows him a good mix of defensive stability and counter-attacking threat.
Allan McGregor started over Craig Gordon in the Albania game and we fancy McLeish to stay loyal to him in the next competitive match. Really, there’s very little to separate the two goalkeepers, but the rave reviews of the Rangers goalie since he returned to Ibrox should see him get the nod.
Why no McKenna?
Scott McKenna will be one of Scotland’s centre backs for the future, but he’s not long returned from injury and we’d be very surprised if McLeish was to disrupt a winning back three to bring him back in. Instead, expect Kieran Tierney, Charlie Mulgrew and John Souttar to continue for Scotland.
Why no Forrest?
This isn’t a decision we’d back considering James Forrest’s red hot early season form was highlighted with four goals against St Johnstone at the weekend. He’s bang at it and Scotland should be taking advantage of that. But we just can’t see McLeish replacing the defensively sound Stephen O’Donnell for a more attacking threat in Forrest – particularly on a tough away trip.
Why Naismith and Russell?
Both started the 2-0 win over Albania – and both really impressed. Johnny Russell was a constant threat with his pace and direct play, while Naismith got both goals in the victory. With Leigh Griffiths missing and Oli McBurnie having missed the last internationals, we fancy McLeish to stay loyal to this pair.
Would you be happy with that Scotland XI?