Scotland 3 Israel 2: Forrest hat-trick seals Nations League promotion
James Forrest inspired Scotland to Nations League promotion as his hat-trick headlined a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Israel in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Twice on target in the 4-0 trouncing of Albania on Saturday, Forrest maintained his rich form by overturning former Celtic team-mate Beram Kayal's opener in the space of nine first-half minutes and completing a decisive treble just after the hour.
Alex McLeish's men - beaten 2-1 in the reverse fixture - needed three points to leapfrog Israel into top spot in Group 1 of League C and were made to negotiate an anxious last 15 minutes when Eran Zahavi reduced the deficit.
Scotland demonstrated maturity to steady and saw off one final scare with help from Allan McGregor to confirm their ascension to the Nations League's second tier.
Early tension at Hampden Park ratcheted up when midfielder Kayal, afforded time to pick his spot from 25 yards, curled a brilliant effort beyond Allan McGregor in the ninth minute.
Scotland responded confidently and, after Ariel Harush acrobatically denied Callum McGregor, Forrest took charge.
The winger pounced on a kind deflection from Stuart Armstrong's initial shot to restore parity and guided his side ahead in a one-on-one in the 43rd minute, Ryan Christie having skilfully squared following Steven Fletcher's headed flick-on.
And it was Scotland's star man who all but made the points safe in the 64th minute as he expertly cushioned Ryan Fraser's lay-off and clinically picked out the bottom-right corner.
Israel rallied late to give the contest life as Zahavi turned on Bibras Natcho's pass and picked out the bottom-left corner, but McGregor's close-range denial of substitute Tomer Hemed in the 88th minute spared the hosts from late heartbreak.