Scotland: Steve Clarke disappointed with late Poland penalty - 'seven wins sounds better'

Steve Clarke described Poland’s late equaliser as a “penalty decision for a friendly” after Scotland were denied a seventh consecutive win at Hampden.

The Scotland manager now takes his team to play Austria in Vienna on Tuesday. It is another friendly at a time when Scotland are desperate to test themselves in competitive action.

They now know who they will play for a place at the World Cup if they can secure a play-off final spot with a semi-final win over Ukraine. The scene is set for a British derby to end British derbies in Cardiff after Wales overcame Austria with two Gareth Bale goals.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Scotland’s own World Cup ambitions are on hold following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Congratulations to Wales, now we’ll try to get there to face them in the play-off final,” said Clarke.

Poland were the substitute opponents after the postponement of the scheduled Ukraine fixture. Scotland were on course for another win until Krzysztof Piatek’s late equaliser from the spot after Kieran Tierney opened the scoring with a header after 68 minutes. It was the Arsenal defender’s first goal for his country.

“Obviously we wanted to win,” said Clarke. “We wanted to continue the winning run. Seven wins in a row sounds better than six wins and a draw. We would have got another clean sheet, which we deserved.

“So it’s a disappointment but it’s not going to be the end of the world. We can continue the unbeaten run hopefully in Vienna on Tuesday night against Austria.”

Scotland manager Steve Clarke talks with John McGinn (right) and Kieran Tierney who combined for Scotland's opener. (Photo credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

On Poland’s late equaliser, which came after goalkeeper Craig Gordon was adjudged to have tripped Krzysztof Piatek, Clarke was philosophical. “It was a penalty decision for a friendly – very soft,” he said. Piatek made no mistake from the spot to frustrate the Scots, who wanted to start another international year with another win. Clarke believed VAR would have overturned the decision had it been in operation.

Clarke paid tribute to set piece coach Austin MacPhee with Tierney’s header having been sourced from a John McGinn free-kick.

“It is very important,” said Clarke. “It is a massive part of the game, it is a part of the game that I felt we could improve on and that’s why I brought Austin in. And we are improving.

"We scored our goal off a set-play and we defended set-plays very well against a team that had a height advantage on us.

Kieran Tierney celebrates making it 1-0 against Poland at Hampden. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“We defended them very well. There was only one big chance they got off a set-play in the first half, third phase off a corner and the boy had a free header. Apart from that we dealt very well with it.”

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.