ISRAEL’s players showed their compassionate side just minutes before their critical Nations League clash with Scotland after offering young mascots their jackets during the national anthems – following Virgil Van Dijk’s brilliant example.
Needing just a draw to secure a play-off place for Euro 2020 and promotion to League B, the visitors faced a testing evening in Glasgow.
But as both sides lined up for the anthems, Israel’s starting XI noticed their mascots were struggling amid the plummeting temperatures.
And instead of keeping themselves cosy, they instead jumped to the aid of the youngsters, each of whom were dressed in replica Scotland kits.
Players then linked arms to sing Hatikvah, their national song, before the children ran for cover.
When the game eventually got under way, James Forest’s hat-trick inspired a 3-2 win which sees Israel frozen out of the Euro 2020 play-offs, for now.
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Beram Kayal lashed home the opener for Israel, who had triumphed 2-1 in the pair’s other group match, but the Celtic winger hit a double to give Alec McLeish’s men the advantage at the break.
Forest struck his fifth goal in two games to complete his treble in the second period, and though Eran Zahavi set-up a grand stand finale with a late goal, the Scots clung on.
The result has however done little to overshadow Israel’s pre-match gesture, which won plenty of plaudits on social media.
Journalist David Tanner wrote on Twitter: “What about all the Israel players giving their jackets to the shivering mascots? What a lovely touch.”
Ajay Abraham added: “Israel players giving their jackets to the shivering mascots is another proof that football is always more than just a game.”
Finally, Matthew Lond stated: “Class touch by the majority of the Israel players to put their jackets around the small scottish player mascots during their national anthem. They would be so cold.”
On Monday, Liverpool defender Van Dijk acted with similar solicitude by wrapping his jacket around a mascot prior to the 2-2 draw with Germany.
The Netherlands captain then consoled the match referee at full-time having learned that his mother had recently passed away.