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Scott McKenna determined to end Nations League campaign on a high in Israel

Scotland's Oli McBurnie, goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Scott McKenna appear dejected after the final whistle during the UEFA Nations League Group 2, League B match at City Arena, Trnava, Slovakia.
Scotland's Oli McBurnie, goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Scott McKenna appear dejected after the final whistle during the UEFA Nations League Group 2, League B match at City Arena, Trnava, Slovakia.

Scott McKenna is determined to help Scotland finish their Nations League campaign on a high in Israel.

The national team’s nine-game unbeaten run came to end in Slovakia yesterday with a 1-0 defeat in Trnava when a victory would have confirmed Steve Clarke’s side as winners of Group B2.

It was a much-changed Scotland side with Clarke opting to make eight changes for the match following the physical and emotional energy expended during Thursday’s Euro 2020 play-off final victory against Serbia on penalties.

McKenna, who left Aberdeen for Nottingham Forest earlier this season, started in defence alongside his former Dons teammate Andy Considine.

He hopes Scotland can end their Nations League on a winning note against Israel on Wednesday.

He said: “I think we’ve definitely got enough to go there and get a result.

“We’ll recover as best we can today and tomorrow before we fly out.

“I would imagine there will be a light training session on Tuesday before the game Wednesday.

“And we’ll do everything we can.

“We know the importance of the game, so I’m sure anyone called upon will be ready to go.

“Of course, I want to stay in the team.

“But I wasn’t involved last month and I think the lads kept three clean sheets and were absolutely excellent, so I can have no complaints.

“I think I’ve just to do as well as I can when I get the opportunity for Scotland and show the manager what I can do.

“And if not, then certainly I’ve got to perform for my club, keep my performances level and give the Scotland manager something to think about.”

McKenna felt Scotland’s performance against Slovakia deserved more than a narrow defeat with Jan Gregus’ deflected drive enough to earn the hosts victory.

He said: “I’m disappointed with the outcome of the game but I thought our performance merited more than defeat.

“We had several chances in each half which if we’d taken would’ve changed the game.

“And it’s a poor goal for us to lose, especially from distance and with a deflection.

“It’s a hard one to take.

“There were definitely still a lot of positives from the game, particularly when you think of the amount of changes from the other night.

“You think of the boys who had the 120 minutes and penalties the other night and all the emotion that came with that.

“So, the manager had to turn to others to freshen things up and for us to put in that kind of performance, going about our business the way we did with so many changes, is extremely encouraging.

“I think it shows the strength of depth we’ve got now and there is serious competition for places within the squad.

“Everyone’s just going to push each other because we all desperately want to be a part of it for Scotland at next summer’s Euro finals.

“We’re all eager to impress the manager with an eye to next summer.

“And that can only be good for the national team.”

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