IT is the year 2044. Millport and Rothesay are all but underwater. Donald Trump’s disembodied head still refuses to accept the results of the American election. And Scotland are playing Israel in the Nations League.

This was the fifth meeting between the nations in a little over two years, and the second in a little over a month. Unfortunately for Scotland, the prospects of meeting them again loom large after defeat in Tel Aviv saw them miss the chance to escape the purgatory of Nations League Group B.

And it certainly felt like a missed opportunity. The Scots went into Sunday’s match against Slovakia knowing a win in either that game or this would have seen them top their group ahead of the Czech Republic.

Alas, both games were lost by a single goal, allowing the Czechs to pip the Scots at the post. This triple header may ultimately be remembered for the win on penalties over Serbia that took Scotland to Euro 2020, and the wonderful scenes of celebration that followed, but the party ended on something of a bum note.

It isn’t only the unexpected bump in royalties enjoyed by Baccara over the last week that will have taken a hammering from those results, but the chances of Scotland gracing the World Cup in Qatar and the next European Championships too.

If familiarity bred a little contempt between the opponents, the familiarity of Steve Clarke’s line-up gave comfort to Scotland fans, with the same XI who did the business against Serbia to clinch qualification for Euro 2020 given the chance to show they could boogie once more to send the Scots dancing into group A.

It was more of a slow dance to begin with, but the Scots got their now trademark high press going soon enough and created a few openings, the best of which was choked wide by Stephen O’Donnell after fine set-up play involving John McGinn and Ryan Jack.

Scott McTominay had whipped in a couple of brilliant crosses from the right, and one of those was glanced on target by John McGinn, with Ofir Marciano making a good save to foil his former Hibernian teammate.

Lyndon Dykes wasn’t nearly as involved as he had been in the Serbia match, so much so that if his name was Oli McBurnie, he probably would have been getting panned for his performance. Not that it was his fault, as he was a willing runner as always, but the quality of service into him wasn’t quite there in the opening 45.

There were chances at both ends though as the first half came to a close, Ryan Christie and McGinn making a hash of it at one end before Erhan Zahavi did the same for Israel in what was a let-off for the Scots.

They failed to heed the warning, and Israel were first to take advantage of the open nature of the game just before the interval. Manor Solomon, the wonderfully talented Shakhtar Donetsk winger, sprung forward on the break before tying McTominay up in knots and firing across David Marshall and into the bottom corner.

Suddenly, the familiarity in this game was from the echoes to Sunday’s match against Slovakia, with Scotland playing well in between the boxes, but giving up chances at one end and failing to take them at the other.

There was another let-off at the start of the second half as Zehavi’s snapshot inside the area was deflected inches wide by McTominay.

The Scots rallied, and McGinn used his ample posterior to great effect to turn Nir Bitton only for his shot to be blocked behind. A flurry of corners followed, and from the last of those Declan Gallagher should have done better than head over from six yards.

On the hour and with the Czech Republic winning against Slovakia, Clarke decided to go for broke, throwing on McBurnie and Leigh Griffiths for McGinn and Dykes. Scotland needed the win, but with the Israeli defensive line now camped somewhere along the Mariana Trench, they were finding it hard to create any clear-cut chances.

Indeed, the best opportunity fell to Israel on the counter, and Marshall came up with a massive save maintain Scotland’s faint hopes going into the last 10 minutes.

That faint flicker was almost fanned by Scott McKenna of all people, the substitute defender popping up in the box to head inches wide of the post.

A glorious chance then landed at the feet of Griffiths from Kieran Tierney’s long throw. There were only a couple of minutes left, the ball dropped to the right man, but the forward completely fluffed his lines to extinguish any lingering hopes of a dramatic comeback.

As it was, the leggy Scots were unable to rouse themselves, and while Clarke and his team will eventually return home as heroes for securing the most coveted prize from this run of three away games, they will no doubt be smarting a little at the one they let slip away.

Never mind. At least a chance to avenge the defeat to the Israelis will no doubt be along in a fortnight or so.