Scotland topped their UEFA Nations League group by beating Israel 3-2 at Hampden with James Forrest’s hat-trick securing the victory.
After a sluggish start which resulted in the national team falling behind on 10 minutes to a Beram Kayal goal, the Dark Blues rallied and Forrest delivered a virtuoso performance, netting three times.
It was a nervy finish after Israel pulled a goal back on 75 minutes but the Scots managed to hang on.
The result means Alex McLeish’s men top League C Group One and secure a play-off semi final spot in the quest to qualify for the 2020 European Championships.
Boss McLeish named the same team that thrashed Albania 4-0 in Shkoder on Saturday.
The first chance of note came on 10 minutes and it resulted in the visitors taking the lead.
After a period of possession around the Scottish box Zahavi laid the ball off to Kayal 25 yards out and the former Celtic midfielder curled a wonderful shot into the top right corner with his right foot.
It was a disastrous start in a must-win game.
Following the opener the Scots had more of the ball – but Israel were far more threatening on the counter-attack.
On 19 minutes, Eli Dasa’s ball down the right flank was cut out in the nick of time by Scott McKenna. If the Aberdeen man hadn’t got there, Dor Peretz would have been left with a tap in.
Midway through the half Scotland tested Ariel Harush in the Israeli goal. Granite City-raised Stuart Armstrong charged down the left, he played it on to former Don Ryan Fraser, his cutback found Steven Fletcher who couldn’t get a shot away.
The loose ball broke for Callum McGregor 25 yards out and his fizzing volley was touched behind by Harush for a fruitless corner.
On the half hour Forrest made a promising jink into the box on the right, but the shot was tame and blocked.
Soon after Zahavi flashed in a cross from the right which strike partner Munas Dabbur was inches away from heading home after ghosting away from David Bates.
But, on 34 minutes, Scotland hauled themselves back into the contest with an equaliser.
Armstrong’s left-foot drive from the edge of the area was blocked by Sheran Yeini, the loose ball fell for Forrest, who took a touch to control before rifling into the bottom right corner.
Just two minutes from the interval Scotland took the lead and what a goal it was.
Andy Robertson’s chip found Fletcher, the striker’s deft head flick set Ryan Christie away down the left and, with the Israeli defence caught out, he squared for Celtic team-mate Forrest to slot home from 12 yards.
The second period started with both sides on the front foot and, on 53 minutes, Fletcher headed a Fraser corner just over the crossbar and soon after Callum McGregor fired a long range shot high and wide.
The match and top position in the Nations League C Group One looked to be secured on 64 minutes.
Intricate play down the left ended up with Fraser finding space on the left side of the area, the Bournemouth player’s low centre picked out Forrest, who beat a defender and calmly finished from eight yards.
A great way to get his hat-trick and a fifth goal in two games for the national team.
After the third goal the Scots looked like they could add more with Fletcher mistiming a header at the back post from an Armstrong cross.
On 74 minutes sub Dia Seba sent a shot just wide from the right side of the area, but 60 seconds later Israel had a goal back.
Zahavi was given too much time and space on the edge of the area and he planted a right foot shot into the bottom right corner.
Immediately after that goal Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie was sent on along with Matt Phillips as Scotland attempted to see the game out.
They were indebted to goalie Allan McGreor as he pulled off a magnificent point-blank save with two minutes to play to keep out sub Tomer Hemed’s volley and after that the Scots saw it out.
Scotland: Allan McGregor, Callum Paterson, David Bates, Scott McKenna, Andy Robertson, Stuart Armstrong (Matt Phillips 75), Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Ryan Christie (Graeme Shinnie 75), Ryan Fraser, Steven Fletcher (Scott McTominay 87).
Subs not used: Scott Bain, Jamie MacDonald, John Fleck, Jack Hendry, Gary Mackay-Steven, Oli McBurnie, Johnny Russell.
Israel: Ariel Harush, Eli Dasa, Bibras Natcho, Eran Zahavi, Munsa Dabbur, Dor Peretz (Dia Seba 73), Sheran Yeini, Taleb Twatha (Tomer Hemed 85), Loai Taha (Almog Cohen 67), Omri, Ben Harush, Beram Kayal.
Subs not used: Guy Haimov, Daniel Amos, Dan Glazer, Ayad Habashi, Shir Tzedek, Ben Sahar, Dor Micha, Manor Solomon, Ben Bitton.