Charlie Mulgrew has admitted Scotland got a “fright” against Belgium but insists they won’t be scared again.
The Scots travel to Haifa today for their Nations League tie against Israel, knowing that victory will see them get a grip of Group C-1.
If they can win in the Sammy Ofer Stadium tomorrow night then it will seem a long way away from the horror show against the Belgians on September 7 when they were hammered 4-0 in a friendly at Hampden.
To their credit, the Scots recovered their composure in time to see off Albania 2-0 in the opening game of Uefa’s new competition three days later.
That accomplished display in the national stadium has left Mulgrew confident there will be no early Halloween for Alex McLeish’s men in the Middle East.
The Blackburn Rovers central defender admitted: “The Belgium game gave us a bit of a fright and made us realise we had to respond – and we did.
“The main focus was the competitive game so we knew we had to be right against Albania.
“That was the most important match and we got a result.
“Now we are looking forward to this one with confidence as well.
“It definitely has meaning because it is a chance to get to the Euros.
“If we win this group we are in a play-off to go to the European Championships so we want to win,” added the ex-Celtic and Dundee United man.
“Friendlies are OK, especially if they’re big ones, but you want to play competitive matches and fighting for three points is much better.
“Israel will be similar to Albania in as much as they like to play football from the back and are in a period of transition with a new manager but we will go there in good shape.”
Mulgrew is one of the more senior players in the Scotland squad at the tender age of 32 so there is an element of urgency to his dream of reaching Euro 2020.
He said: “It’s not as if in previous campaigns I’ve thought: ‘Oh there are plenty more ahead of me so don’t worry about it.’
“Nevertheless, I don’t have loads left – I realise that – and want to put everything in to get there.
“That’s what we are all pushing towards.
“We’re doing everything we can to get there and to make sure when the games come around we’re ready to win them.
“It would be a great way to finish my international career.
“I’m not saying it would definitely be the end of it but it would be fairly close.
“I still feel fit and healthy and I also think being away with Scotland helps me.
“I don’t like to take a lot of time off.
“Maybe as I get older and get into my late thirties I will think it’s better to have three or four days’ rest but, right now, I am desperate to be involved.”
Mulgrew revealed he was more than happy to pass on the captain’s armband that he has worn three times to Andy Robertson and has liked what he has seen of the Liverpool ace in that role.
“I fully understand the manager’s decision,” said Mulgrew.
“I mean, he’s playing every week for Liverpool in the Premier League.
“To be honest, I kind of expected it but the time I had as captain was great and I’ll relish any chance I get in the future. I won’t take it for granted.
“Being captain was something I was very proud of and something no one can ever take away from me.
“It would be a proud moment if I ever get again but Andy is a great choice. He is a guy with a long future with Scotland.
“It is important to have a captain to lead the group and he does it on and off the pitch.”