Kenny McLean relishing the pressure ahead of crunch clash with Israel
Kenny McLean is embracing the “brilliant” expectations around Scotland’s European Championship play-off semi-final against Israel at Hampden Park on Thursday.
Should Steve Clarke’s side get past a team they drew 1-1 with in a Nations League clash at the same venue last month, they face Norway or Serbia away for the chance to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.
Norwich midfielder McLean knows hopes among the Tartan Army are high but takes that as a positive.
He said: “It has got to make you excited. If these games don’t make you excited then you shouldn’t be here, because we have waited so long for these opportunities.
“It has been a long time since we have had a game this big for the country. All the boys know how big it is and are desperate to get results.
“What comes along with that, the expectations, the pressure, it’s brilliant.
“That’s what you want as a player and I think it will bring the best out of everybody.
“Players play every week at a good level with expectation, so coming away here and having these games with so much riding on it for so many people – it’s great to be involved.”
McLean admits the match has been in the squad’s subconscious for quite a while.
The former St Mirren and Aberdeen midfielder said: “We knew how big this game was going to be a long time.
“It has always been in the back of our minds, even previously playing other games this has always been the one that everybody has looked at.
“It has something that we have been looking forward to and it has come around now and now we have to go and perform.
“It is the biggest game we have had in a long time, we know that as players, we know how important is it. It is such a big thing for the country. We are ready.”