Scotland boss Steve Clarke takes the positives from Czech win

Five games unbeaten, both strikers score and character to fight back from goal down
Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring Scotland's first goal. Picture: Radek Petrasek/PA WireLyndon Dykes celebrates scoring Scotland's first goal. Picture: Radek Petrasek/PA Wire
Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring Scotland's first goal. Picture: Radek Petrasek/PA Wire

Steve Clarke hailed the victory if not the performance as Scotland defeated a makeshift Czech Republic side in Olomouc.

The fear of losing to a team of mostly untried international footballers seemed to overly burden Scotland as they quickly slipped behind to a goal from Jakob Pesec. An equaliser from Lyndon Dykes shortly before the half hour mark and penalty from Ryan Christie seven minutes into the second half earned Scotland three points.

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Clarke wanted to concentrate on the three points. The win stretched Scotland’s unbeaten run to five games dating back to November last year and put them top of Group B2.

“Let’s talk about the result first, when everyone puts you under pressure to win then that’s what you have to do,” Clarke said, with reference to the circumstances which saw Czech Republic forced to assemble an entirely new team at 48 hours’ notice due to positive Covid-19 tests .

“We obviously made it more difficult for ourselves by conceding the first goal but the boys showed good character to come back and get back in front. It was always going to be a difficult night for us after what emerged over the weekend. It was the chance to be a fairytale for them. For us it was always going to be a difficult night and that’s how it turned out. But we got the win. It was a good reaction to adversity.”

Clarke again played a three-at-the-back system that was heavily scrutinised in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Israel. He dropped Kieran Tierney and brought in Leeds skipper Liam Cooper at left centre-half.

“I am not looking for vindication,” he said. “I wanted to have another look at the system and see other players playing in that system. I managed to do that tonight.”

Asked to put the two most recent results into the context of such a pivotal Euro 2020 semi-final play-off against Israel next month, he said: “Five games unbeaten is a positive. The way we reacted tonight is a positive.

“We showed resolution and character. Both strikers scored. So, there are positives to come out of it.”

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