The former Celtic player’s campaign was ended by a knee problem immediately after he turned out in the March friendlies against Poland and Austria. He was the one of the few squad members who played every minute of the two encounters and this led to some drawing conclusions over his subsequent sidelining. However, the recent Arsenal docuseries on Amazon made it plain that the knee issue that the London side have been nursing him back from this season occurred during a gym session at his club. “I knew that,” said the Scotland manager. “Other people spouted quite a bit but I knew the circumstances and like I always do with things that like, I just keep quiet.”
Meanwhile, for the forthcoming Nations League triple-header inside a week that will see Ukraine faced home and away with the Republic of Ireland hosted inbetween, it has been all quiet on the Arsenal front over Scotland game-time given to Tierney. Clarke doesn’t see a need for any discussions on the matter, hinting Tierney will be utilised in the left-berth of a back three, which won’t require him to constantly bomb forward.
“I think Arsenal will trust us to treat their player properly as we do with everybody. We try to treat them all correctly,” he said. “Listen, my job is to win matches and if I need my best players on the pitch for all three games, that’s what I have to do. We have to use them as we see fit to get the best out of the player. Obviously we are not going to try to injure a player or do anything that’s crazy. If a player is not capable of playing three 90 minutes we would manage the minutes and still utilise them as much as we could.”