Israel head coach Andreas Herzog revealed a painful early experience of Scottish football thanks to Scotland counterpart Alex McLeish.
Herzog was playing for Rapid Vienna against Aberdeen in the second leg of the UEFA Cup in Austria in September 1989, when he felt the full force of the Dons centre-back, having to be substituted as his side won 1-0 to go through to the second round 2-2 on aggregate.
Herzog, now 50, is preparing his side for the Nations League Group C1 game against Scotland at the Sammy Ofer stadium on Thursday night and at his pre-match press conference he recalled his clash with McLeish, but with no grudge.
The former Austria under-21 midfielder, whose Israel side lost 3-0 to Northern Ireland in a friendly last month to leave them with one win in 10, said: “The coach, Alex McLeish, I played against him as a young player when he played for Aberdeen and I played for Rapid Vienna and in the home game he tackled me from behind so I dislocated my shoulder.
“That was my first experience. I will see him tomorrow again. It is just a funny thing. It is a long, long time ago but I know the Scottish teams are hard to beat because they have a great mentality.
“I played against them (Scotland) in the under-21 European championships. They were always close games so I expect the same tomorrow.
“But overall, if we have the passion and patience at times to do the right things at the right moment, going forward faster than against Northern Ireland, we will cause some problems for the Scottish back line.”
Israel lost 1-0 to Albania in their first Group C1 fixture last month while Scotland started with a 2-0 win over the Albanians at Hampden Park.
Herzog, in charge for his first home game since taking over Israel in August, admits it is win or bust tomorrow in front of an expected crowd of around 10,000, in a 30,000-plus capacity stadium.
He said: “We have to go into the game with great passion, fighting spirit and with our technical ability and then we will have a really good game.
“I want my team to enjoy everything and not put too much pressure on us because it is not an easy situation.
“But we all know that if we are to have a chance of qualifying then we have to win tomorrow.
“I want my players to convince the supporters of the future that there is a new team coming around and of course we want them to be behind the team but first we have to perform well otherwise it is just talking.”
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