Steve Clarke looking for Scotland to feed off captain Andy Robertson’s success

Posted Saturday, June 08, 2019 by PA

Steve Clarke looking for Scotland to feed off captain Andy Robertson’s success

Steve Clarke is hoping Scotland benefit from the success of Champions League winner Andy Robertson against Cyprus on Saturday night.

The Liverpool left-back arrived late at the Scotland camp during the week to a round of applause from the squad following the Reds’ 2-0 win over Tottenham in the final in Madrid.

Ahead of his first game in charge of the national team, a 2020 European Championship qualifier at Hampden Park, Clarke is hoping the positivity and confidence of the Scotland captain, along with other successes in his squad, can rub off on the rest of the players.

Speaking at the national stadium, Clarke said: “The players received him with a warm round of applause when he walked into the dining room, when we were all sitting having our dinner.

“It was great to have him there. Obviously, a massive achievement for Andy and hopefully the lads can feed off that.

“There has been a few in the group who had successful seasons, the Celtic lads, Kenny McLean (Norwich), John McGinn (Aston Villa) have all finished the season feeling good about themselves.

“Hopefully we can get that into the whole squad and carry that forward as a group of players.

“So we have a lot in the group who have had a positive end to the season and hopefully when we get the team on the pitch on Saturday night we can continue that positivity.”

Clarke is preparing for the first game of a double-header which includes a trip to group favourites Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday night.

The Scots began their campaign with a shock 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan and a 2-0 win in San Marino, which led to the departure of Alex McLeish and the former Kilmarnock boss stepping in as manager.

Cyprus head coach Ran Ben Shimon has stressed that Scotland are already “chasing” Euro 2020 qualifying points ahead of their clash in Glasgow.

New boss Clarke will take charge of the Scots for the first time on Saturday night, with the national team already under pressure in their qualification campaign.

However, Cyprus, in their first two fixtures – both played at home – beat San Marino 5-0 before losing 2-0 to Belgium.

“Pressure is all around us and I believe players these days know how to handle pressure,” said former Israel defender Ben Shimon.

“Of course it works both ways, because the motivation is very high for Scotland, they changed their manager.

“But no doubt about it, the start of Scotland’s campaign makes them chase after points now.

“But we come here to fight and do our best. We have to look at how our team is playing.

“We know everything, we looked at the Scotland games and we analysed them and we are expecting a big challenge against a quality team.

“June is not an easy time to play football after a long season but the players are hungry, they come very focused.

“I know the targets of Scotland, we know what has happened and it is a crucial match but we are focusing on our targets and we have good confidence in our players.

“We look like we are ready for this challenge and we hope that we get a good result at this great and respected arena, Hampden Park.”


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