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‘That’s my fault’ – Steve Clarke takes blame Scotland’s faltering friendly form



SCOTLAND’S recent form makes grim reading after the draw with Finland – one win, over Gibraltar on Monday, in nine matches.

And boss Steve Clarke is shouldering the blame.

Steve Clarke says it’s his fault Scotland have had some tough results – because he’s picked tough opponents for the playersCredit: Kenny Ramsay
Taking on some of the tournament favourites has returned some heavy defeatsCredit: Getty
But Steve Clarke insists it’s taught his players what’s needed next week in GermanyCredit: Kenny Ramsay

Not only that, he says the swing in momentum from a stunning qualification campaign has been partially DELIBERATE.

Scotland spent two years tantalising the Tartan Army as the McMatadors swept aside Spain then knocked Norway out to book a place in Germany.

But the buoyant bubble has been somewhat burst by draws with Finland, Georgia and Norway, and defeats to Northern Ireland, England, France, Spain and Holland.

The underwhelming win over Gibraltar – which saw the boss brand some sections of the media ‘Negative Normans’ – is the only winning mark since beating Cyprus last September.

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There’s still a swell of excitement and optimism heading to Germany this week though.

And Clarke insists the form-book only tells half the story – and it’s HIS FAULT the results don’t reflect well.

Discussing the recent results on Premier Sports’ coverage of Friday’s farewell friendly, pundit Michael Stewart highlighted the drop in form – countered by the rise in calibre of opposition.

And Clarke admitted: “That’s my fault. I chose those games and made those difficult games so that when we go to the tournament and play against the top sides we now know how good we have to be to get a result – we know that now.

“I don’t mean fault, but it’s my decision.”

He added: “I’m not sure why people want to be negative about a couple of friendly matches which are basically training matches for the tournament.

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“Let’s look forward to going to the tournament – go with a bit of swagger and see what we can do.

“The feeling in the dressing room is we’re going to go there and be as competitive as we can be and if we play as well as we can, we believe the results will come.”

Scotland’s second consecutive Euro campaign kicks off in less than a week against the host nation.

But Clarke is hoping for seven better days than the one he’s just experienced.

Since Lyndon Dykes was stretchered off the training pitch at Lesser Hampden Ben Doak has dropped out of the reckoning and Clarke has cut John Souttar and Craig Gordon from the travelling party – a decision Sunsport exclusively revealed on Wednesday.

He went on: “It’s been a horrible week – pretty much since Lyndon’s injury.

“I’m looking forward to a day off [on Saturday] and then we’ll get together and go on Sunday.”

And turning to the stricken strikeracting as a pundit on the TV duty rather than starring on the pitch – he added: “Lyndon turned up for one training session with his ankle hanging off and after ten minutes I had to tell him – back to your club, you’re not fit.

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“He loves playing for the country, I know he does but that’s the kind of spirit we have right through the whole squad and maybe that’s why we’ve managed to qualify for another major tournament.

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“I like the ‘again’ word – we want to do it again. We don’t want to stop at this one. We want to keep moving forward and qualifying for major tournaments.

“We have a great group of players.”

Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page

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