Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Scotland result 'bottom of the lowest,' says coach Clarke

Steve Clarke said Scotland is suffering from a lack of confidence after its 4-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow, the team's fourth consecutive loss.

Published : Oct 11, 2019 13:06 IST

Scotland manager Steve Clarke
Scotland manager Steve Clarke

Scotland manager Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke is concerned by Scotland’s fragile mentality as it aims to build towards the Euro 2020 playoffs from the ‘bottom of the lowest’ point.

Artem Dzyuba scored twice as Scotland conceded four goals in 27 second-half minutes to end the Tartan Army's slim hopes of automatic Euro 2020 qualification.

Only San Marino sits below the Scots in Group I and they are 12 points behind second-placed Russia with three games remaining.

READ : Russia 4-0 Scotland: Dzyuba at the double in Moscow mauling

The defeat was a fourth consecutive loss for the national team and Clarke accepts his team is suffering from a lack of confidence.

"We conceded a soft goal. Man-on-man we have to do better. From there we quickly found ourselves out of the game, and allowed the game to run away from us," he told reporters.

"We have to put it down to fragile confidence, players seem to lose heart very easily, which is unfortunate because we had done okay up to that point.

"I don't think we went out of the game because of our personnel, or the team shape, or the way we set up our tactics.

"We went out of the game because of a corner. And from there the fragile confidence, we just allowed the game to run away from us."

When Clarke was asked whether the Scotland job was bigger than he thought, he added "On the back of a 4-0 defeat, off the back of two 4-0 defeats - yeah, it feels difficult.

"But I was brought up the hard way, I'm in for the fight and I think the players are in for the fight too."

Despite its latest humbling, Scotland’s hopes of playing at Euro 2020 are not completely extinguished as it still has the opportunity to qualify via the playoffs, having topped its Nations League group last year.

And with games against San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan to come in this campaign, Clarke is confident of lifting the morale of his squad ahead of those March play-off dates.

"Hard work. Maybe one or two different selections in terms of the squad as well as the starting XI, it's something I’ve got to look," he said. "Obviously we can't keep conceding goals.

"For us it's to try and make sure this is the very, very bottom of the lowest and then build from here and make sure come March we're able to be very competitive and get through the playoffs to give ourselves a chance to be in the same championships."

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Need to look back and do things better

Scotland captain Charlie Mulgrew said players have to take responsibility for the Tartan Army’s 4-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow.

 "It's the players’ responsibility. We were sitting with a game plan and we followed it up until 60 minutes when we were fine and then we didn't do the basics. That's happened a few times now," Mulgrow told Sky Sports.

"We are disappointed we were in the game for 59 minutes and then gave away a bad goal. And then they scored from the edge of the box with a good finish. They are a top quality side and it's one we need to look back on and do things better.

"We are gutted, devastated and we need to get a move on fast and get onto the next game as quick as we can."

Scotland finishes the qualifying campaign with games against San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan, before the playoffs next year offer a final chance of making June’s European Championships.

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