'Scotland are in a good place, don't worry about that' - Steve Clarke reacts to 2-2 draw with Austria

Scotland manager Steve Clarke shrugged off the disappointment of his team letting a 2-0 lead slip from their grasp in Austria and insisted they are still on track to seize a place at the World Cup Finals whenever their play-off fate can be decided.

Scotland's manager Steve Clarke talks with Austria's head coach Franco Foda before the match in Vienna.
Scotland's manager Steve Clarke talks with Austria's head coach Franco Foda before the match in Vienna.

Goals from Jack Hendry and John McGinn had the Scots on course for victory over Austria in Vienna but late strikes from substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Alessandro Schopf gave the hosts a share of the spoils in a high octane friendly contest.

It stretched Scotland’s current unbeaten run to eight games and Clarke remains upbeat about the prospects for his squad as they wait to learn when the play-off semi-final against Ukraine at Hampden can go ahead.

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“We are in a good place, don’t worry about that,” he said. “There is always something you can find in the performance to improve on. Our ball retention could have been better.

“We scored another good goal from a set play and then a fantastic second goal. It’s always disappointing when you don't win after being 2-0 up. We gave a lot of silly free-kicks away and put ourselves under pressure. But we will take the draw, staying unbeaten.

“We go into the games in June on the back of an eight match unbeaten run which is not a bad place to be.

“Hopefully we are playing Ukraine in June. That’s my one wish. It will mean the situation has improved for everyone in that country.”

Scotland were grateful for another outstanding display by 39-year-old goalkeeper Craig Gordon who made several fine saves.

“It was a tough game, we had to do a lot of defending,” said Gordon. “In the end, we are probably happy to come away without being beat. We’ll take that and move on, we are still undefeated for a long time.

“It’s a difficult place to come. We knew we would have to defend at times and they put us under a lot of pressure. We almost managed to sneak away with a win.

“There were a few saves – the first and last were probably the better ones. Both were important at the time to keep us in the game – before we scored and then to keep it at 2-2. We were hanging on at the end.

“It was a night when I had to make a number of saves and thankfully I managed to do enough to make sure we weren’t defeated."

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