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338356 / Blog / Football / Scotland

McLeish wants players to do his talking on the pitch

McLeish wants players to do his talking on the pitch

Alex McLeish wants his Scotland side to do his talking for him on the pitch against Israel in their Nations League clash in Haifa.

The national team boss insists his squad are in fine fettle for the game at the Sammy Ofer stadium after the 2-0 win in their opening group maatch against Albania at Hampden Park last month.

However, rather than more “cheap words” from him, McLeish wants his players to show it all on the park in the Group C1 fixture.

McLeish is unlikely to make many changes when his side face Israel (Gavin McCafferty/PA)

Speaking at the pre-match media conference, he confirmed that midfielders Scott McTominay and John McGinn had recovered from off knocks and said: “The squad have trained really well, it is a good group.

“I know these are cheap words sometimes because I have said that before and then you don’t produce the performance level.

“What they have shown in training and the camaraderie in the dressing room, I would like to see all that come to the fore. We look for high marks for each individual but also a great team performance.”

McLeish hinted that there would be little change to the team which beat Albania at Hampden Park.

Alex McLeish
The Scotland manager has urged his players to show consistency of performance (Ian Rutherford/PA)

The former Scotland defender said: “Obviously we had players that played at a really good level last month in the Albania game. It would be hard to overlook players who gave such a good performance on that night.

“The old adage is you shouldn’t change a winning team. Obviously we don’t have everybody but we don’t want to keep making too many changes.

“We would like to get a bit of rhythm and continuity, with the challenge to the players in the squad to produce great performances for their clubs and get themselves into the thinking of pushing someone out the way and getting their place in the team.”

Alex McLeish
McLeish is not concerned by the expected small crowd for the game with Israel (Jane Barlow/PA)

There are suggestions that only around 10,000 Israel fans will be in the 30,000-plus capacity stadium amidst widespread apathy for the national side who have won only once in their last 10 games.

However, McLeish said: “I coached in Egypt (Zamalek) for a wee while and we never had any fans. It was only the club members behind us.

“It is a game of football. It is a possibly a bit disappointing for the home team in that the country, the supporters don’t think they are of a level yet.

“They have to see a little bit of proof of that and this is a very dangerous game for us.”

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