IF you had asked a group of Scotland fans who Che Adams was just a fortnight ago a fair few of them would have asked: "Che who?"

Some members of the Tartan Army may even have replied: "Wasn’t he Fidel Castro’s right hand man?"  

Followers of our national team are often, with good reason in some cases, accused of being more interested in having a good time than football.

But everybody in the land is certainly well aware of who Adams is now.

Steve Clarke sprang a surprise when he named the Leicester-born Southampton forward in his squad for the opening Qatar 2022 qualifiers against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands earlier this month.

The 24-year-old won his first cap for his adopted homeland, who he qualifies to play for through a maternal grandparent who hails from Edinburgh, against Austria at Hampden on Thursday night when he came on as a substitute in the second-half.  

And in the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv last night he found his name in the Scotland starting line-up for the second Group F match.

He came in for Lyndon Dykes, who had quickly become a firm favourite of the supporters when he opted to play for Scotland over Australia last year and had been been outstanding in the Euro 2020 play-offs, up front.  

“When you have got three games in a short space of time it is nice to freshen,” said Clarke before kick-off. “I have freshened the two forward positions (Ryan Fraser also replaced Ryan Christie). I am looking for fresh legs in more attacking areas.”

Could he be the first Scotland internationalist since Paul McStay some 35 years earlier to score a winner against Israel away from home?

It was asking a lot of one player to, like his namesake Guevara, revolutionise a country. But hope, as always, sprang eternal.

The young man who has netted seven times in the Premier League in the 2020/21 campaign had shown exactly why Clarke was so keen to recruit him during his brief time on the park three days earlier and deserved his chance.

Adams either didn’t know the words to Flower of Scotland of chose, like his team mate Kieran Tierney alongside him, not to sing. But there could be no questioning his commitment once the game got underway.

Scoring chances were always likely to be few and far between for the lone striker. But he showed an admirable willingness to drop deep and get involved. He won a free-kick for his team when he was brought down by Eitan Tibi inside his own half early on.

He linked well with Callum McGregor not far outside the Scotland penalty box shortly after that and helped to initiate a counter attack.

Powerful, fast and tidy in possession, he impressed even if the visitors, who gifted their hosts several opportunities, did not.

Sky Sports commentator Davie Provan, whose only international goal came against Israel in a World Cup qualifier back in 1981, was encouraged.

“He’s equally comfortable coming towards the ball or going into the channel,” he said. “He’s not dissimilar to Lyndon Dykes.”

Scotland’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes came when Fraser played a defence-splitting pass in behind former Celtic right back Hatem Abd Elhamed and in to Adams.

Ofir Marciano, the Hibernian goalkeeper, just managed to get out to it first, but his rival made a decent challenge and was fortunate not to be cautioned by Deniz Aytekin, the German referee.

The former England Under-20 player had a shot blocked on the edge of the Israel area five minutes before half-time – but he promptly raced back and tackled Bibras Natcho.

Clarke need to make changes to get Scotland back into proceedings and he certainly did so by removing Jack Hendry, putting on Christie and switching from a back three to a back four.

How would Adams get on with John McGinn, a physical presence in the final third of the park and scorer of that spectacular late overhead kick against Austria, just off him and Christie strengthening the attack out wide?

It took just 11 minutes to find out. McGinn sent him charging forward and he did well to cut the ball back to Fraser despite the close attentions of three defenders. The Newcastle United man made no mistake.

Scorer turned provider after an hour had elapsed. Adams, cutting in from the right hand side and trying his luck from a tight angle, was denied by Marciano. But it was far, far better.

Adams was replaced by Dykes with 15 minutes remaining. The new boy had covered every blade of grass on the park and not stopped running all night. Fresh legs were required if his team were to grab a late winner.

There was to be no goal for Adams on his first start and only his second appearance. But it was a positive performance, capped by an assist, that augurs well for the future.

He only decided to pledge his allegiances to this country a few weeks ago. If this is how well he does with less than 30 minutes of football at this level under his belt then how influential and important can he be going forward?

He may not feature against the Faroe Islands at Hampden on Wednesday night. But many Scotland fans will be hoping he is the first name down on the team sheet in the opening Euro 2020 match against the Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14 after this.