GARY HOLT insists Lyndon Dykes will rise to the occasion if Steve Clarke gives him the nod for Scotland’s biggest game in 17 years.
Holt is the man who snapped up Dykes for Livingston and gave the towering attacker his chance to shine as a striker, having largely played on the flanks for Queen of the South.
The 25-year-old repaid Holt with 14 goals in 36 outings during his spell in West Lothian, ultimately earning a £2 million summer switch to QPR.
The Lions boss has seen Dykes embrace every step up he has made during a rapid rise to the top, including scoring his first international goal against the Czech Republic last month – and is adamant the visit of Israel will be no different.
“The bigger the game, the bigger the occasion, then the harder Lyndon will work,” lauded Holt. “That’s what he has to do – he needs to put a shift in, first and foremost – and I can guarantee that Lyndon knows that better than anyone.
“Lyndon won’t be overawed – he’ll embrace the size of the occasion and, fingers crossed, let’s all hope he gets another goal.
“Stevie [Clarke] will know what he brings to the table now, having worked with him, and I know Lyndon will be chomping at the bit come Thursday.”
The visit of Israel is Scotland’s first playoff tie for a major final since 2003 when the Netherlands ran out 6-1 aggregate winners over Berti Vogts’ charges.
And Holt beams with pride as he considers the Livingston connection within the squad, with Dykes, former Livi stopper Declan Gallagher and current loan star Robby McCrorie.
“It is brilliant for Livingston to see boys like Deccy [Gallagher], Lyndon [Dykes] and Robby [McCrorie] involved,” continued Holt. “It’s great for the club, the staff and myself when you’ve had a wee hand in their progress and improved their careers.
“It does give you that wee bit of extra pride when you see them pull on that dark blue jersey.”
Holt, however, is honest enough to admit that he does not give a damn who Clarke selects or who gets the goals – as long as Scotland get the job done at Hampden.
Holt, capped 10 times for his country, added: “I couldn’t care less who scores or if it’s the worst game of football in history! As a really proud Scotsman, I just want us to win the game.
“People get caught up thinking about silky football but if we wake up on Friday morning after eking out a 1-0, who cares? No-one remembers how you get a win.”