Arsenal defender Tierney suffered an unspecified injury on Saturday which was not disclosed by the Scotland camp until Clarke named his rejigged starting line-up on Monday afternoon.
Two goals from Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick consigned the Scots to a result which leaves them with a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the knockout phase of the tournament.
“Obviously we had done a lot of work with team shape and Kieran was involved in that,” said Clarke.
“We had 48 hours to go when he picked up the little niggle that kept him out. It does take a little bit of changing, it changes the dynamic of the team. Kieran has been an integral part of how we have played recently.
“But I don’t think we defended too badly. The moments in the game that got away from us, the first goal is preventable, the second one is really good.
“The rest of the team, the dynamic was okay. I went with Stuart Armstrong to try to give us somebody driving from midfield.
“The way the game panned out, there wasn’t much midfield play in the first half anyway. It was only when the game opened up that we started to get the opportunity to play through midfield and when we did that I thought we were decent and created some good chances.”
Clarke, who says Tierney has a chance of being fit again in time for Scotland’s next game against England at Wembley on Friday night, dismissed criticism of goalkeeper David Marshall’s positioning for Schick’s stunning second goal which was scored from 49.7 yards – the furthest distance of any strike in European Championship finals history.
“Well, if he’d been on his line he would have caught it,” added Clarke. “But in normal circumstances, he’s looking to sweep up behind the defence.
“But it was a fantastic finish. I think rather than looking to apportion blame all the time, sometimes you’ve got to credit the goal scorer.
“I think the breaks went against us at the wrong time. We didn’t come here for a learning experience but obviously if we have to learn lessons from it, that’s what we’ll do. We came here to be competitive and I think we were competitive in the game.
“Sometimes a football match doesn’t go your way and today was that day. I don’t think there was much between the two sides if you look at our attempts at goal. Our possession was good, we just weren’t quite clinical enough at the right time but the game on Friday will take care of itself.”
Scotland looked a more rounded side after Che Adams replaced Ryan Christie at the start of the second half and Clarke was asked if he had any regrets at his decision not to name the Southampton striker in his starting line-up.
“Hindsight is a wonderful gift,” he replied. “Nobody has got it.”