Steve Clarke won't expect Denmark easy ride and promises same from Scotland despite suspension predicament

Steve Clarke is not expected Denmark to ease off in Monday night’s World Cup qualifier despite the group and play-off placings already being decided in Group F.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke expects a tough test from Denmark (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Scotland manager Steve Clarke expects a tough test from Denmark (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Scotland manager Steve Clarke expects a tough test from Denmark (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Kasper Hjulmand’s team conceded their first goal of the campaign on Friday night against the Faroe Islands, but a 3-1 win maintained their unblemished record in the section which has already earned their place in Qatar next year.

Scotland must play another two games beyond tomorrow night to join them, and for a more favourable home semi-final and seeded place in the play-off draw, need to take at least a point from the final group game.

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Denmark will be keen to finish with a flourish though, Steve Clarke believes – but so will Scotland.

"They will want to finish their campaign on a good note, same as we do,” Clarke said. “I think the fact it’s a full house at Hampden will ensure they are fully at it. We will be fully at it too and hopefully it’s a great game for the fans and we get the result we need.

“Four months is a long time in football, there’s a long time till March.

“We are on a terrific run. Five wins on the bounce is very difficult to do at any level of football. To do it at international level when the pressure was on – we had to get the points on the board to get second spot in the group – we want to go the last step to get the point or three points that gets us the seeded place.

“Six games undefeated going into the March play-off would be a good place to be.”

The need for a positive result is further complicated by Scotland’s suspension predicament. Eight players are walking a disciplinary tight-rope where one caution would rule them out of the play-off semi-final – wherever it may be.

That risks Billy Gilmour, Andy Robertson, John McGinn, Jack Hendry, Che Adams, Stephen O'Donnell and Kevin Nisbet, plus Scott McTominay. Nathan Patterson is already missing having picked up two yellow cards in each match against Moldova – but will have a clean slate for the March matches.

“Probably the most unfair part from our point of view is that some teams accumulate over only eight games and we accumulate over ten. The yellow cards still count as the same and I’m not sure how that is fair.

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“We are not the only country in this situation. Almost every country has numerous yellow cards hanging over them.

“You deal with it as you would in any normal situation. There’s too many players to say you could all get booked or miss a game. My view is that we need something from the Denmark game to secure the seeding.

“I think getting the seeding is important and you have to trust that we don’t get an over-officious referee who wants to book everybody for every single little indiscretion.

“The lads who have picked up one yellow card over the course of a nine-game campaign, hopefully they can get through without picking up anything else. But you then go into the play-off and they pick up a booking in the semi and they’d miss the final, which is extra unfair.”

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