Scotland coach John Carver says a World Cup qualifying victory over Austria on Tuesday would set up a blockbuster Hampden Park encounter with Israel next month.
The Scots have moved into third place in qualifying Group F, a point ahead of Austria who were defeated 5-2 by Israel on Saturday.
That means Steve Clarke’s men have a major opportunity to build a strong gap above the Austrians, while also keeping up the pressure on second-placed Israel.
With a crowd of more than 40,000 in place for Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Moldova, Carver believes their next home fixture on October 9 could take on huge significance if Scotland can get the job done in Vienna this week.
Carver said: “Before the tournament started, Denmark were favourites. then it was between us, Israel and Austria for that second spot. That’s what we’re vying for.
“We’re going to go with confidence. We’ve beaten Moldova and now we prepare for Tuesday – we know we can create chances and we can play on the front foot.
“We’ll have a go and see what happens.
“It would be amazing if we could get a result – that would set it up for hopefully a 50,000 crowd for the Hampden game against Israel.
“If we got ourselves in a position where we were there or thereabouts, I’m sure there would be a full house and I would love to see that.
“Even with 40,000 on Saturday, the noise was amazing.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 4, 2021
“They were right behind the team and that was the first time I’ve really seen it.
“I think we had about 12,000 during the Euros – but this was a 40,000 crowd behind the team and it was brilliant.
“The noise when we came out at half time was amazing.
“That’s why we’re in football – and hopefully we can have a full house in October.”
Having built up a lead on Austria, who are ranked 23rd in the world, Carver says it is crucial his side avoids defeat on Tuesday.
He added: “I think we need to go and get a positive result, that’s the most important thing.
“Let’s not lose.
“Denmark play Israel, and that’s a big game for me.
“Denmark left a few players out on Saturday. I think they left about nine of their starting team out because they know they’ve got a big game on Tuesday night.
“We’re going to take care of our business, we’ve got to have a positive result.”
Carver is refusing to read too far into their opponents’ compelling defeat in Haifa, adding: “We know Austria are a good side. In particular, Marko Arnautovic’s goal last night is something special and we’ve got to deal with him.
“And we all know David Alaba’s the special player who has just got the big move.
“So, it’s a difficult game – but it’s a game we’re going to have a go at, that’s for sure.
“But we’ve got to come out of it with a positive result.
“If we get a start like we did last night, that’s what we’ll be looking for.
“But let’s not forget, Austria will be like a wounded animal.
“They are a good side – and they’ve got beat off a good side, let’s not forget that.”