Michael Devlin insists time can be the great healer for Scotland as the players continue to get to grips with Steve Clarke’s tactics.
Clarke was appointed on the strength of his 19-month stint in charge of Kilmarnock.
But the system that led Killie to a third-place finish in the Premiership last season – their highest since 1967 – was built upon hour after hour of meticulous work on the training ground.
Clarke does not have that luxury with Scotland and the limited contact he has with his players has been apparent in a run of just two wins from six games.
But Aberdeen defender Devlin is adamant that the Euro 2020 qualifying dead-rubbers with Cyprus and Kazakhstan and the time Clarke has to spend with his injury-hit squad will be vital as the boss aims to drill in his masterplan for March’s Nations League play-off.
Devlin said: “In comparison to what a club manager gets, Steve has probably had two two-week blocks to work with a squad.
“In a pre-season alone a club manager would have had far more time to work with his squad. We need to recognise that there is a limited amount of time but that’s also where we are lucky to have a top manager who can get his point across, is eloquent and very direct in what he wants.
“The more time we get, the more squads there are then hopefully we’ll see improvement. The players need to take responsibility for what is a clear message being put across to hopefully get results on the pitch.”
Clarke’s preparations for this double-header have been struck by a raft of call-offs.
Skipper Andy Robertson has joined Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser and Leeds defender Liam Cooper on the list.
The withdrawals have done nothing to lift the mood of gloom sitting over the national team on the back of the failure to qualify directly.
But with the Nations League wild card still up for grabs, Devlin is looking on the bright side.
He said: “We have two play-off games to look forward to in March and the generation of players here are desperate to get to the Euros.
“This week’s games can be pivotal in building momentum.”