Scotland forward Matt Phillips insists his side cannot afford to dwell on the poor results which have virtually ended their hopes of automatically qualifying for Euro 2020.
The Scots’ failure to take a point from their home double header against Russia and Belgium leaves them nine points adrift of the second placed Russians in Group I, with only four qualifying matches remaining.
Although the damage has already been done, Phillips says his side must instead focus on harnessing momentum ahead of the play-offs in March.
Phillips said: “We need to kick on from this because we can’t change what’s already happened. It’s all about the games and training sessions coming up, when we need to be right at it. The mental side is important – we were set up to win against Russia and it’s hard to take that it ended up the way it did.
“The manager spoke about how we want to be in a good place. We have to take what we can from these remaining games and give ourselves a platform. We don’t look upon this as a thankless task – we remain positive and united.
“I can see the nucleus of a team capable for qualifying for the final stages of tournaments. We just have to stick together and keep going.”
Phillips reckons the upcoming four matches will give Clarke the chance to put his stamp on the national team, having taken over from Alex McLeish in May.
Phillips added: “We have four games left to build on for next March and I don’t want to put a points target on them but we need to put in some good performances prior to the play-offs.
“It’s early days yet for the manager and he’s still trying to get his ideas across. But we want to start growing some confidence and momentum for next year and that’ll start when we meet up again for the fixtures next month.
“We’ll work hard on the training pitch – as we did this week – and try to apply that during matches.
“We can learn a lot from Belgium, especially the way they move the ball and get it to their strikers quickly.”
Phillips led the line on his own against the Belgians, with the West Bromwich Albion attacker keen to learn from their impressive opponents.
The 28-year-old added: “We’ll have to go back over the game and take whatever positives we can from it. Obviously, it was disappointing to be beaten 4-0 on our own patch but you can see why they’re number one in the FIFA rankings.
“They have top, top players all over the pitch but we conceded two goals from set pieces so if we had tightened up on that it could have been different.
“We worked on a way to try and prevent them from having too much time and freedom on the ball and I’m happy to play my part. But it’s difficult, particularly when you’re up against one of the best teams out there.”