Penalty-hero Kenny McLean insists the Scotland players backed themselves to hold their nerve in last night’s spot-kick triumph over Israel.
Scotland scraped through on penalties last night after an underwhelming performance at Hampden.
They were, however, perfect from the spot, with all five Scotland players finding the net from 12 yards.
John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Scott McTominay, Lawrence Shankland and McLean were all on target in the shootout, with Nir Bitton, Shon Weissman and Mohamed Abu Fani notching for Israel.
The crucial intervention came from David Marshall, who kept out Eran Zahavi’s effort to earn a 5-3 triumph after a goalless 120 minutes. That left McLean to be the hero from 12 yards, tucking away the crucial kick.
McLean said: “It actually felt pretty good. David had obviously put us in a position where we were always ahead and I knew it was a chance to win it.
“I knew I was taking the last penalty and I said to him at the start of the shoot-out that I fancied him to save at least one, so I thought I might have been in that position.
“So it was good to know that if it went in we were through and I stuck it away.
“As soon as we came off after extra time I said to the manager I wanted to take one. The rest of the boys stepped up as well and we were all confident.”
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) October 8, 2020
The victory earns the Dark Blues a play-off final against Serbia in Belgrade on Thursday November 12 with the winner advancing to the European Championship.
Serbia earned their place in the play-off final with a 2-1 win over Norway in Oslo, which also went to extra time.
Scotland need to rouse themselves now for Slovakia – who won a penalty shoot-out of their own against the Republic of Ireland last night – back at Hampden on Sunday.
Paul McGinn and Ross McCrorie look set to join the squad for that fixture and the home tie against the Czech Republic next Wednesday after Scotland lost six players – Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney, Ryan Christie, Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oli Burke – on the eve of last night’s game.
McLean added: “Obviously we lost key players who would probably have been out there fighting with us tonight but the manager has everybody drilled in every position. The boys who stepped in knew their jobs from the first minute.
“The boys who came off the bench knew their job, too. It’s always the same. We stick to what we know.
“I’m sure the players we lost are sitting at home absolutely delighted. We need them back going into the next game.”