ALEX McLeish last night called on his young Scotland team to prove they have the mental fortitude needed to win away from home in international football ahead of a Nations League game against Israel.

The national side, who beat Albania 2-0 in their first match at Hampden last month, can take a huge stride towards winning League C Group 1 and securing a Euro 2020 play-off place, with a victory in the Sammy Ofer Stadium here tonight.

But McLeish, set to field the likes of John McGinn and John Souttar once again in his starting line-up, knows his side will have to cope with difficult conditions and raise their games to a new level to get the desired result.

“It’s a big chance,” he said. “The other teams will be thinking they’ve got a great chance as well because we are bracketed at the same kind of level. But we know the rewards of this particular game.

“I watched Israel’s game against Northern Ireland. They did lose heavily, but they actually played some good stuff in the game. We are going to Israel, their territory, and we have to show we have got a pair.

“We have, of course, brought a lot of new faces in and a lot of youngsters. A lot of the older guard has left. There are some new kids on the block and we are looking for them to go one step further.

“We want to create our own tempo, for the boys to go away from home and express themselves because we need to get that evidence that we are going to be able to qualify for these major tournaments. By going away from home and giving a top level of performance.”

However, McLeish has warned his young charges they will be punished by Israel if they make as many errors as they did in the 4-0 defeat to Russia 2018 semi-finalists Belgium last month.

“Young players have to be allowed to make mistakes,” he said. “Unfortunately, at international level, and the level that we are trying to get ourselves back to, making mistakes is devastating.

“We saw that with the simple ones we made in the Belgium game. You don’t need to give a team like Belgium those chances. It’s getting the mentality to play, it’s getting the ability as young defenders to say: ‘Right, I can smell danger here, I’m going to be in the right position’. You have to be proactive.

“Guys like Naisy (Steven Naismith) and the older players in the squad can really encourage the younger ones to go and enjoy themselves.

“We want them to enjoy their football career. We don’t want them to be going away from home and thinking that the world is on their shoulders. They have got to go and express themselves and bring their individuality to the tactical side and the physical side. They have to bring their individual skills.”

McLeish has spoken to his Northern Ireland counterpart Michael O’Neill, who turned down the and his first team coach Austin MacPhee about Israel and is expecting, despite the 3-0 defeat they suffered in Belfast last month, a difficult evening.

He will make nullifying the threat posed by Moanes Dbour, who scored two goals for Salzburg against Celtic in the Europa League in Austria last week, and Tomer Hemed, the Queens Park Rangers forward, a priority.

“I spoke to Michael again last week and Austin as well,” he said. “We have had good collaboration.”

“Dabour and Hemed, who played for Brighton. They have a couple of midfielders who are interesting, very adept on the ball and two wing-backs with big engines who go up and down the pitch. We have a few people to try and keep quiet.”