‘Lyndon will get the headlines but my back three were terrific’: Steve Clarke left overjoyed with his Scotland squad as he heaps praise on his defence and match-winner Dykes after gritty 1-0 win over Slovakia
- Scotland manager praises defenders after a battling performance in Glasgow
- 33-year-old defender Andrew Considine made his Scotland debut during win
- Scotland will play Serbia next month in crunch Euro 2020 play off final
- Scottish skipper Andrew Robertson will be suspended for the game in Serbia
Steve Clarke watched Lyndon Dykes fire Scotland into seventh heaven – then hailed his defenders as the real heroes of a battling win over Slovakia.
Insisting there were no failures in a win which stretched the national team’s unbeaten run to seven games, however, Clarke praised his team for continuing to build on recent momentum.
Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring what turned out to be the winning goal at Hampden Park
‘Lyndon has done well, I don’t think anyone who has watched him play could say anything otherwise. He was part of a very good team performance tonight.
‘He will get the headlines because he scored the goal, that’s what strikers do. But I thought my back three were terrific tonight.
‘Defensively we were solid and I felt we controlled it from start to finish.
‘I always felt comfortable, even when Slovakia were probing, and we scored a good goal to win the game.’
Scotland have now gone seven games unbeaten and will play Serbia in Euro 2020 play-off final
At 33 Aberdeen’s Andrew Considine became the oldest Scotland debutant since Ronnie Simpson in 1967. Forging a new back three with Declan Gallagher and Scott McTominay the display of the reshaped trio was just one source of satisfaction for the manager.
He said: ‘Andy was terrific when you think he only joined us the other day.
‘We had two days of recovery so we didn’t do a lot on the training pitch but he’s experienced.
‘He is there on merit and he showed that against Slovakia.
Aberdeen defender Andrew Considine (left) earned his first senior international call up
‘It was good for Lyndon to get the goal but it was an all-round team effort.
‘It was a good move for the goal, a great ball in from Stephen O’Donnell and Lyndon was there to finish.
‘He was in the right place at the right time but we also put in a terrific defensive performance.
‘That’s two clean sheets in a row and it’s something we have been working hard on.
The Scots displayed their battling qualities as they won the game with their only shot on target
‘We also looked a threat going forward and hopefully we can keep improving.’
Dykes claimed his second goal in 54 minutes after the Scots struggled to manage a shot on target.
Admitting his team remain a work in progress Clarke added: ‘You get criticised a lot and people talk about stats.
‘One shot on target in two games and we have reached the play-off final and picked up another win.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke has guided the Scots to an impressive seven games unbeaten
‘When you have three central defenders playing as well as ours did, you always have a chance.’
A Czech Republic side badly depleted by covid-19 travel to Scotland in second place in the group after a 2-1 win in Israel.
Insisting that game tops his priorities – and not next month’s Euro 2020 play-off final in Serbia – Clarke added: ‘This sets us up nicely for the game against the Czechs.
‘They had a good win against Israel but come Wednesday night, I hope we are still top.
Scotland captain Andrew Robertson will be suspended for the crunch clash with the Serbians
‘We aren’t thinking about next month. The focus is to get as many points as possible in this section.
‘If we do that, we will go into Serbia in the right frame of mind.’Captain Andrew Robertson is *out* of the Czech game after earning a second yellow card last night, with Clarke likely to call another defender into his squad.
‘I think two yellows in a six game competition ruling you out a game is a bit harsh.
‘It’s really short, but we willl deal with that.
‘We have a good squad of players and Liam Cooper has dropped out with injury, so I will probably call up another centre back to give us that cover just incase.’