For 45 minutes it was Qatarstrophic.

A goal down, standing off hungrier opponents and stepping away from yet another World Cup campaign almost before it had started.

That’s what defeat against Israel in Tel Aviv would have meant.

But Scotland, as they did against Austria, hauled themselves back from the brink to grab a point.

Will it be enough? Who knows, but it’s a result that keeps Steve Clarke’s hopes of getting to the Middle East next November alive, for the time being, although the feeling was it was one that does neither team any favours.

Scotland might have been slight favourites with the bookies, but that was based more on taking the patriotic rather than pragmatic pound.

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Let’s face it, the five previous meetings between these teams have been tighter than a dead heat.

Fate has thrown the Scots and Israelis together time and again over the last few years, and although Clarke’s team won the one that REALLY mattered – the Euros play-off semi last October – it took penalties.

In fact, Scotland’s only win in the five meetings was a 3-2 victory at Hampden, courtesy of James Forrest’s hat-trick, in November 2018.

Israel have won two of the recent contests, both of them on home soil, and they prevailed in the most recent meeting in November to end Scotland’s Nations League hopes.

They’ve been stubborn, resilient opponents with no shortage of flair going forward and this was always going to be a tough test.

There was a wry acceptance from the hosts, pre-match, that the duo are on more than just nodding terms, with the electronic scoreboard beaming: ‘WELCOME! “LONG TIME NO SEE.”

Familiarity may not have bred contempt but it did provoke a need to try something different and Clarke tried to come up with it.

Che Adams was introduced for his first start up front, supported by Ryan Fraser in a twin switch at the top of the end. The move saw Lyndon Dykes and Stuart Armstrong benched.

The other change was significant as well, with Callum McGregor coming in for Celtic club-mate Ryan Christie.

Another difference was that there were fans inside Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium. Only 5,000, but enough to create a buzz. The way their side started had them creating a decent atmosphere.

The blue-shirted Israelis started on the front foot. In the first seven minutes the prolific Eran Zahavi and Manor Solomon missed decent chances.

Scott McTominay came close with a header from Andy Robertson’s corner but the rest of the half saw the Scots go into a shell and they paid the price.

Solomon should have put his team a goal up in the 24th minute after getting too much space in the box.

Thankfully for the Scots, the Shakhtar Donetsk attacker fired his shot straight at David Marshall.

Scotland had stepped off the Israelis, letting them play out from the back, which was asking for trouble and they almost got it when Shon Weissman headed straight at Marshall,

When Clarke’s men did venture forward, Adams and Fraser looked capable of posing problems.

But it looked like Israel would score first and they did with a thunderbolt from Dor Peretz. It should have been closed down quicker by McTominay and dealt with better by Marshall, who got hands to it but couldn’t turn it round the post. It was preventable and the price had been paid for allowing Israel too much time on the ball.

The half-time switch of Christie for Jack Hendry meant a change of system to 4-2-3-1, with the anonymous McGinn central, supporting Adams.

There was more pressure, more intent, and within 10 minutes we were back in business.

Good hunting the ball down let Adams feed Fraser and the Newcastle attacker’s finish from the edge of the box was the talk of the Toon.

We looked like a different team. Ofir Marciano had to save from Adams and Kieran Tierney. For a while we looked the more likely. Then they did.

But in the end, neither could score the goal that would have meant so much to them.