Stephen O’Donnell: Scotland are heading in right direction

Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell
Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell (PA Wire)
4:30am, Mon 29 Mar 2021
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Full-back Stephen O’Donnell believes Scotland are still heading in the right direction as they seek the first win of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

A 1-1 draw in Israel on Sunday followed a 2-2 Hampden stalemate with Austria three days earlier.

Scotland have not won in four games since beating Serbia on penalties to reach the Euro 2020 finals and have lost the first goal in each of them.

To travel over to Israel and come away with a point, it could be a crucial point. We will only know that come the end of the campaign

Two of those games in Israel with Scotland at least showing they could fight back this time after losing 1-0 in November to miss out on Nations League promotion.

“We have played Israel a lot of times and they are a very good side,” O’Donnell said.

“They make you work, they put you in positions you don’t want to be in. They move the ball very well, (Manor) Solomon and (Eran) Zahavi are very, very good technical players. They ask questions.

“To travel over to Israel and come away with a point, it could be a crucial point. We will only know that come the end of the campaign.

“But I think belief is growing. Remember it’s been a long, long time since Scotland had a lot of success. It’s small steps. We had a big step in November, we need to keep trying to build on that.

“Being undefeated in the first two games isn’t the worst start and hopefully we can build on that on Wednesday night.”

Scotland host the Faroe Islands on Wednesday at Hampden where only a win will do.

Top seeds Denmark have started on top form with victory in Israel followed by an 8-0 thrashing of Moldova.

The group runners-up will claim a play-off place though and O’Donnell believes Scotland’s qualification push will go to the wire.

“You are always looking to win,” the Motherwell player said. “Only come the end of the campaign can you really see if it was a missed opportunity.

“I certainly think being undefeated in the first two games is a positive start.

“We knew from the get-go this was going to be a tight group. There’s not much between a lot of the teams and we need to make sure we don’t slip up badly.

“Going down again, it could have happened, but we came together and got the draw.

“We have a tough game coming at Hampden off the back of a long journey. If we are sitting with five points there’s a lot more positivity around the media.

“It’s a positive start, we would have liked to have been in a better position but it’s going to be a very tight group and it’s certainly going to go to the wire.”

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