Beating Israel at Hampden Park on Friday night, and beating them well, could bring far greater reward than three Nations League points.
According to Scotland midfielder Ryan Jack it would land a meaningful psychological blow, the effects of which could still be felt by their opponents when the stakes are much higher in just over a month’s time.
A quirk of the rearranged and condensed international fixture list for the Scots is two Israel home games within the space of a few weeks in different competitions.
Progressing to the play-off final for Euro 2021 qualification is what matters most for Steve Clarke’s squad. And an emphatic result in this week’s dress rehearsal would tee that second fixture up perfectly.
“It’s definitely a chance to lay down a marker,” said Jack.
“It’s a bit strange that you are going to have a game against Israel before the play-off match.
“But it will give both teams a chance to look at each other.
“I have said before that it’s up to us to lay a marker and say: ‘This is what’s to come’.
“It’s important we get a couple of positive results and take all that momentum forward.
“The mentality is to have a really strong two games and then lead into next month. We know that is going to be make or break then.
“As players, that is what you want to be involved in and I am sure we can step up and stamp our authority on it.”
Jack has earned the status of automatic choice for Rangers. Competition for places provided by the likes of Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong and others makes reaching that level with Scotland an even bigger task. But that’s the aim.
“When the gaffer (Steven Gerrard) first came to the club I knew I would have to work hard,” said the former Aberdeen man.
“I’d just come off a bad injury and I hadn’t really played much football. It was going to be tough to work myself back and get into his plans.
“At the time, I would have thought that being in the position I am now would have been a fair bit away.
“But I just got my head down and worked hard at Rangers.
“Steve Clarke then came in as Scotland gaffer and really believed in me.
“He called me up, I get on great with him and now I am looking forward to being part of these games.
“The plan is to take the club form into Scotland duty.
“Everything is going well at Rangers and it’s always an honour to get picked by Scotland.”
Jack added: “It’s a hard battle in the midfield area.
“There is a lot of talent in the squad but you look at the midfielders and there are so many playing at a top level – domestically and at European level.
“But it’s good because you come away and test yourself, and look to put in a shift to get in the manager’s thoughts and plans. We all want to play but if you do well in training then hopefully that’ll be enough.
“Personally, I am in a good place physically and mentally.
“I have played a lot of football since we started back and hopefully I can take that form into Scotland duty.
“Hopefully I get the chance to play but there is a lot of hard work ahead.
“I am looking forward to these games and we want to keep the momentum going from last year and push on into next month.”
There were two wins in the last Scotland double-header in November, with Jack and Callum McGregor combining to good effect. The fact that it was a Rangers and a Celtic player bringing the best out in each other shouldn’t come as a surprise, as far as the Ibrox midfielder is concerned.
“I have had this question before and it is no different from the last time that I got it,” he said. “When you are playing at club level, whether it is Celtic players, Aberdeen players or whoever it may be, it is always going to be fierce and there are always going to be battles.
“We are rivals.
“But when you come away with Scotland, it changes and you are all and pushing for the same objective for the nation. When we come away, club level gets put to one side and that is the way it should be. We are all striving to do well for Scotland.
“I really enjoyed the last couple of games (against Cyprus and Kazakhstan). They were two strong team performances.
“I wouldn’t just say it was down to two individuals but we got on really well during the game and as a team I thought we did well.
“Whoever the manager goes with, we will be looking to have two more strong performances.”