Alex McLeish hailed the “amazing” football Scotland played in beating Israel 3-2 to secure Nations League promotion on Tuesday.
James Forrest’s sparkling hat-trick erased Beram Kayal’s early opener and set the hosts on their way to top spot in Group 1 of League C.
They were made to survive an anxious final 15 minutes following Eran Zahavi’s goal against the run of play but held on to book a place in the competition’s second tier, as well as the safety net of a play-off spot in Euro 2020 qualifying.
With his side having eased to a 4-0 defeat of Albania on Saturday, McLeish was able to celebrate consecutive victories as Scotland manager for the first time since October 2007, albeit not without enduring a few late nerves.
“I tried not to look at the clock in the last 10 minutes or so when [Israel] got their second goal,” the former Rangers boss admitted to Sky Sports.
“But we played some great football for an hour. I’ve got to be absolutely proud of the guys for the way they played tonight [and] the way they played against Albania.
“They set this game up because of that performance. It gave them an injection of confidence.
“It was amazing football and there was a lot of good build-up play in the game as well.”
What a night for this man.
His goals have helped fire us to our first play-off since 2003. pic.twitter.com/DeME2A1MpD
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 20, 2018
Celtic winger Forrest carried on the scoring form that resulted in a brace against Albania last time out.
The 27-year-old had failed to register a goal in his previous 24 Scotland appearances but was delighted to make crucial contributions in two key fixtures.
“It’s a great night. I think it showed character that we kept going and managed to get the goals,” Forrest said.
“The position I play, that’s part of my job. You need to contributing goals and assists. I’m delighted to do that in the last couple of games.”
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