Clarke Defends Scotland Amid Boos, Focuses on Euro 2024 Goals

An unyielding Steve Clarke stood up for his Scotland squad after they suffered a defeat to Northern Ireland, despite what he considered a “decent” performance.

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In the face of a disheartening preparation for Euro 2024, Clarke watched as the match unraveled before an incensed Tartan Army. Northern Ireland extended their unbeaten run to seven games when Conor Bradley’s shot ricocheted off Jack Hendry and eluded Angus Gunn, the Scottish keeper. Even with the stroke of bad luck, the home crowd’s frustration was justified given the team’s uninspired play at Mount Florida.

Yet, Clarke didn’t echo the sentiment of disappointment and argued that the real issue was the squad’s inability to generate enough action in the opponent’s half. In a tense interview with Viaplay, when probed about Scotland’s performance, Clarke said: “Yeah, okay. Decent. We should’ve probably created more in the final third. We had control of the ball.

“We were up against a very good, a well-drilled Northern Ireland side. The deflected goal gave them even more to hang onto than they already had, and they were solid that night while we failed to create sufficient chances to equalize.”

Confronted with the statistic of 19 goals conceded in seven winless matches, Clarke was resilient, stating: ‘Sometimes the toughest times teach you the most. So, we’ll see what lessons we take away.”

When questioned on what insights he has gleaned from this seven-match run, the Scotland manager remained steadfast, emphasizing that the real results that matter will come at the Euros. He contended: “You learn a lot about your players.

“You discover things about your team and how we’re going to approach the summer. The time to hit our stride is in June.”

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