Scotland will be ready in June and that is most important thing – Steve Clarke

By Sports Desk March 26, 2024

Steve Clarke remains confident that Scotland will be ready for Euro 2024 this summer despite their winless run being extended to seven games with a 1-0 friendly defeat by Northern Ireland at Hampden Park.

The Scotland boss was looking for a response following a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday night but midfielder Conor Bradley’s first international goal gave Northern Ireland a first win in Mount Florida in 50 years.

Scotland have not been on a seven-game winless run since August 2004 to March 2005 and they take on Gibraltar and Finland in June friendlies before facing Euro 2024 hosts Germany in the opening game of the tournament at the Allianz Arena.

“I’m not counting,” said Clarke, who revealed captain Andrew Robertson will be assessed at Liverpool after going off with an injury. “We are going to be ready in June and that is the most important thing.

“The performance was okay, we wanted to win the game.

“Credit to Northern Ireland, I thought they were excellent, good shape, discipline, defended with their lives. We had 14 shots blocked, that is good defending.

“They had two chances and scored with one of them.

“They got the goal with the deflection, we didn’t find enough to get the goal to equalise or go on to win the game.

“We had a lot of the game. We tried our best to open them up. It was difficult to find space.

“It was a totally different game to what we have played recently, we were playing against the top teams and they open the pitch and you saw on Friday night that we manged to create a number of really good chances.

“Tonight when we needed a little bit of craft or guile towards the last third of the pitch we couldn’t find that and that is basically why we lose the game.

“We had more than the lion’s share of possession, 14 shots, but not one good enough to go into the back of the net.

“It’s probably fair to say we’re not very good at friendlies because we don’t win too many of them.

“Let’s hope when we come to the competitive games in June we are ready to go. I’m sure we will be.

“The biggest thing for us is to be ready for June.

“I’m a little bit late into the press conference. I would rather be sitting here in my position.

“Unfortunately Wales have just been knocked out on penalty kicks. It’s not all doom and gloom.”

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