Scotland 1-2 Russia: Steve Clarke urges belief after Euro 2020 blow


Head coach Steve Clarke says it is “up to me to find the solution” for Scotland’s underwhelming performances after Russia dealt a grave blow to their Euro 2020 qualification hopes.

Clarke’s side are fourth in Group I with six points from five games after Friday’s meek 2-1 defeat by Russia.

Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team, are up next on Monday at Hampden.

“You must believe there’s a solution. It’s only my third game so I’m still learning about the players,” he said.

“There are some positions where we’re stronger than others but, within the group, I think we have enough talent to be competitive. If you look at the start of the game – we have good players.”

Scotland have already secured a Nations League semi-final place, which means they remain just two games away from reaching next year’s Euros.

But Clarke’s side are six points adrift of second-placed Russia in Group I with five games to play and the top two earning automatic qualification.

The national coach admits he was baffled by his team’s failure to take advantage of an ideal start, with John McGinn’s 10th-minute goal canceled out by Artem Dzyuba before Stephen O’Donnell’s own goal swung the momentum towards the visitors.

“For a reason, I have yet to determine, we stepped off the game and allowed Russia to dominate us and impose their style of play on us,” Clarke said.

“Why we allowed that game to drift away from us, whether it’s a mental thing or a quality thing, we will need to assess.”

Looking ahead to Monday’s game against Belgium, he added: “I spoke about the three difficult games coming up and that’s the first gone, three points are away.

“So Monday is beginning to look like a game that we need to take something from, whether it’s one point or three, to give ourselves a realistic chance in the group.”

Scotland table

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