Scotland reaction: Georgia boss' 'massive UEFA pressure claim', Clarke's longest day, midfielder's 'rattled' verdict

It was quite the night at Hampden as Scotland defeated Georgia 2-0 to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group A of the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Goals from Callum McGregor and Scott McTominay handed the Scots a key victory to move them eight points clear of Norway and Georgia in the pool, with the match delayed by nearly 100 minutes due to a waterlogged surface at Hampden and failed pitch inspections.

Here is what both managers and some of the players said after the match …

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke: "Apart from the birth of my three children I think that’s the longest day of my life! There were moments where it was quite surreal. The worst one was after the first stoppage and everyone was getting ready, warming up inside, you go out, you’re going to start again in 15 minutes, and the two teams got in the tunnel and it was absolutely tipping it down again. That was when you start thinking ‘maybe we don’t start again’. We dealt with it mentally I think. The players were great. In and out, in and out, in and out, warm up, wait, warm up, wait. I have to mention the fans. The fans were magnificent. It would be easy for them to be down and even be thinking about going home because the game could have been called off. They stayed. Every time we went to the pitch they got behind us and cheered and lifted the lads All the volunteers with the brushes and brooms and everything to get the water off the pitch, you’ve got to say thank you to them. Eventually we have come out with another massive three points. 12 points to lead the group is a fantastic start. For me the best part is our players did their job.”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke shakes the hand of his counterpart Willy Sagnol after the 2-0 win over Georgia at Hampden.Scotland boss Steve Clarke shakes the hand of his counterpart Willy Sagnol after the 2-0 win over Georgia at Hampden.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke shakes the hand of his counterpart Willy Sagnol after the 2-0 win over Georgia at Hampden.

Georgia manager Willy Sagnol: “We started the match under massive pressure from UEFA. They don’t give you explanations. It wasn’t easy for us or for Scotland either. I spoke with Steve Clarke after the third minute of the match and we both agreed it was impossible to play football in the conditions. But the referee allowing the game to go on until after Scotland scored the opening goal made it a very difficult situation for everyone. Everybody had enough of the situation. But it was basically ‘shut up and do what we tell you to do’. They told us we had six minutes but these are professional footballers and they were cold. The only thing we asked from the first minute was please communicate, please talk to us. Because we have to speak to our players. UEFA said we had to play in six minutes. How can you say to players who have been inside for 30 minutes and who have not had a proper dinner or lunch for five hours, how can you say to professional people … we are professional football players and managers … maybe some people should respect football a bit more. It would make things a bit easier. I know decisions are never easy. But as a manager I have to make decisions every day. That is my job. And it’s the job of Uefa to organise a match. It was a lack of respect. Scotland with another win will be almost certain to qualify. They deserve it. They were brilliant in the first three matches and I think they deserved to win again tonight, so congratulations to them.”

Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay: "Obviously the first few minutes all players were saying 'you can't play on a pitch like this' but then we scored and then obviously they didn't want to play and we obviously did because we were winning and that's the way it has to be. Full credit to the boys. We were warm in there and kept our heads and I thought they were a little bit rattled when they didn't want to play so I feel like we kept concentration and the game plan and did really well. The crowd was amazingly patient and that's a real credit to them because they kept us going tonight even when it was tough for us. They had quite a bit of the ball, more than we expected and we did well." On his words in the tunnel, he revealed: "We want to play. We've come here to play, not tomorrow afternoon or night, we want to play now.

Fellow Scotland goalscorer Callum McGregor: “No-one's experienced that before. It's a testament to the boys' character and the staff, they were excellent. We were desperate to get the game back on. We were physically ready to go again. Overall, it's a really positive night.”