Another Scotland Euro 2024 injury concern after incident in unconvincing victory over Gibraltar

Cooper limps off with knee problem during the match in Faro

Luckless Scotland manager Steve Clarke has another injury concern to worry about after defender Liam Cooper limped off during Monday’s pre-Euro 2024 friendly victory against Gilbraltar.

The 32-year-old defender, who has been one of the mainstays of Clarke’s Scotland squad with 19 caps since he took over as boss of the national team, came on for Grant Hanley at half-time. However, he had to leave the field of play on 77 minutes after a clash of knees with one of his opponents. Cooper immediately fell to the turf and Scotland medical stuff rushed on to assist him. His knee was checked over, with the decision taken to replace him with Scott McKenna. Scotland went on to win the game 2-0.

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The latest scare comes after Scotland lost striker Lyndon Dykes on Friday. The 28-year-old QPR forward injured his ankle during a training session at Lesser Hampden, with medics rushing on to remove him on a stretcher. His absence for the European Championships was confirmed 24 hours and Clarke will now hope that Cooper, who could be seen hobbling around the track after being subbed at the Estadio Algarve, will be fit enough to force his way into the final squad for the tournament in Germany.

Scotland defender Liam Cooper picked up an injury during the 2-0 win over Gibraltar.Scotland defender Liam Cooper picked up an injury during the 2-0 win over Gibraltar.
Scotland defender Liam Cooper picked up an injury during the 2-0 win over Gibraltar.

Clarke has options at centre-half, with Ryan Porteous, Hanley, Cooper, McKenna and Kieran Tierney all able to play in that position. Rangers defender John Souttar was not fit enough to take his place on the bench in Faro, however, and there are question marks about his fitness after missing the end of the domestic season with the Ibrox club. The manager has to trim his squad – currently sitting at 27 players – down to 26 by Friday. He is mulling over whether to call up another striker to replace Dykes, with only Che Adams and Lawrence Shankland his natural only No 9s in the squad.

Scotland have been beset by injury issues in the lead-up to the European Championships. Principal right-backs Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson are out of the tournament with hamstring issues, while in-form Bologna midfielder Lewis Ferguson also absent after hurting his knee back in April. He has since undergone surgery on his ACL and is very unlikely to play this year.

In terms of the match against Gibraltar, Scotland prevailed 2-0 against obdurate opponents to end a seven-match winless run. Scotland dominated possession and created many chances in the first half without taking them. It took until the 58th minute for Ryan Christie to open the scoring with a close-range effort, before substitute Adams put the outcome beyond doubt with a second goal five minutes from time. While Scotland were in no danger whatsoever against limited opponents, there will be frustration that they did not win by more given their superiority.

They are next in action on Friday night when Finland visit Hampden, before the squad head to their Bavarian training base to prepare for the Euro 2024 opener against Germany on Friday, June 14 in Munich.

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