Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson insists Scotland are fired up to make a World Cup qualifying statement against Israel.
The Scots occupy second spot in Group F and hold a one-point advantage over rivals Israel in the fight to secure a play-off spot for the 2022 finals in Qatar.
Ferguson can sense the desire within the Tartan Army to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since the 1998 finals in France.
He insists the Scotland squad and management have that same hunger.
Having finally ended a 23-year major tournament drought by competing in the summer’s Euros, the Scots are bidding to secure back-to-back qualifications.
Ferguson accepts Israel at a sold-out Hampden is the biggest game since the Euro 2020 finals, where the Scots failed to progress from the group stages.
The only Aberdeen player in national boss Steve Clarke’s squad, Ferguson said: “Everyone in Scotland, the players, the staff and the fans want to be going to a World Cup.
“These are the games that you have to win if you are going to get there.
“Israel is a massive game, probably the biggest since the Euros.
“We have to go in with a positive mindset and try to win the game.”
Israel are familiar foes for Scotland
Ferguson made his international breakthrough during the World Cup qualifiers last month.
The 2019-20 SFWA Young Player of the Year came on as a late substitute in the 2-0 loss to runaway Group F leaders Denmark for a debut cap.
Ferguson secured a second cap when introduced off the bench in the 1-0 defeat of Austria in Vienna days later.
That victory elevated Scotland into pole position to finish second in Group F behind inevitable winners Denmark to secure a play-off spot in March.
Seeded higher than Scotland in the group, Austria were pushing forward in the attempt to secure a draw in the final minutes of the crunch match.
National boss Clarke showed his trust in Ferguson by introducing the Pittodrie midfielder late on to help see out the win.
‘Usually one goal separates the teams’
Israel are 80th in the FIFA world rankings with Scotland sitting 45th.
However, results between the teams in recent years indicate there is little to choose between the sides.
This will be the seventh time Scotland have faced Israel in a competitive match in the last three years.
They have met four times in the Nations League since 2018, with Scotland securing just one win with two defeats and a draw.
The Scots triumphed over Israel in a penalty shoot-out at Hampden in October last year in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.
Scotland then drew 1-1 away to Israel on March 28 in a World Cup Group F qualifier.
Ferguson, who hopes to add to his cap count against Israel and then the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, said: “Israel’s team is littered with good players.
“They are really tough, stuffy and hard to break down.
“It’s always a good game when we’ve come up against them.
“There’s never much between the sides, it’s usually only a goal that separates the teams.
🔴 The Red Army enjoyed that one!
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 3, 2021
“Every game has been really tight.
“That is why we’ve got to go into it this one against Israel with a positive mindset.”