Steve Clarke admits Scotland must avoid defeat at Wembley to keep hopes of Euro 2020 progress alive

Scotland manager Steve Clarke believes his team must take at least a point against England at Wembley on Friday night if they are to retain hope of reaching the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Kieran Tierney (right) returned to full training with the Scotland squad on Thursday and was all smiles as he worked alongside Stuart Armstrong (left). (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Kieran Tierney (right) returned to full training with the Scotland squad on Thursday and was all smiles as he worked alongside Stuart Armstrong (left). (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Clarke feels four points will be the minimum requirement for Scotland from their Group D fixtures if they are to take the country into the knockout stage of a major tournament finals for the first time ever.

After the disappointment of Monday’s opening 2-0 defeat against Czech Republic at Hampden, the Scots will look to get off the mark against top seeds England and have been boosted by the news Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney will return to their line-up.

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While it remains possible a haul of just three points could be enough to qualify as one of the four best-ranked third-placed teams in the six groups, Clarke regards that as an unlikely scenario from Scotland’s perspective.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke boards the team bus as his squad leave their training camp on Thursday to travel to London for Friday night's Euro 2020 Group D match against England. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

But he is confident his team can avoid defeat at Wembley and set themselves up for their final Group D game against Croatia at Hampden next Tuesday night.

“We need to get four points out of the last two games and that’s what we’re looking to do,” said a relaxed Clarke.

“I’m not looking at other group tables, I'm only focused on ourselves. We need four points from the last two games and obviously we have to get something from the game on Friday and that’s the sole focus.

“Can we get four points? Of course. Why not? I think if you look at our game against the Czechs on Monday and analyse the game properly, there was nothing between the teams.

“What we have to do is focus on the next game, which is England. We have to try and get something out of the game because I really feel we are going to need four points to qualify.”

Clarke’s cause is certainly enhanced by Tierney’s recovery from the calf issues which forced him to miss out against the Czechs.

“He’s fit and available to play,” confirmed Clarke. “He has trained fully since Wednesday. Obviously something could happen overnight but we don’t expect that and we expect Kieran to be in the starting line-up.

“It’s good for Kieran, it’s good for everybody. You want all your players available and that’s what we’ve got.

“I’m pleased for all the boys that they are fit and available. It’s a fantastic fixture to play in, a big game against one of the favourites in the tournament so we’re looking forward to it.”

Clarke doesn’t subscribe to the notion England are the team playing under the most pressure and greatest weight of expectation on Friday night.

“We go into the game thinking about ourselves and putting ourselves under pressure for a good performance and a good result,” he said.

“The English boys, I’m sure, are used to being touted for the last four. I think they would be disappointed if they didn’t get to the last four but there are a lot of good teams in the tournament so they’ll have to be good too.

“We only focus on ourselves. We have a lot of boys playing at a really high level week in, week out. We have two Champions League winners in the squad which is not a bad thing to say.”

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