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Steve Clarke backs Scotland to bounce back in Israel

Scotland boss Steve Clarke.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has urged his players to start a new winning run by beating Israel to win their Nations League group tomorrow.

The national team’s nine-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by a 1-0 defeat in Slovakia on Sunday.

The Czech Republic moved to within a point of Clarke’s side, which leads Group 2 of League B by a point going into tomorrow’s final round of matches.

But with his side’s fate still in their own hands Scotland boss Clarke has challenged his players to bounce back in style by claiming the three points needed to secure promotion to League A.

He said: “Everything we want to do in the section is still in front of us.

“We want to finish top of the section and we go to Israel for our game on Wednesday night still able to do that.

“That’s what I said to the boys after the game. I said ‘let’s start the next winning run on Wednesday night.’

“We’ll reflect on things and get ready for Wednesday when we can hopefully get the three points to secure the section.

“We want to top the group.  We came away on this three game away camp and the first result went in our favour and the second has gone against us and hopefully Slovakia can do us a favour by going to take points from the Czech Republic that would be nice.

“If we go to Israel and win then we top the section.”

Clarke is disappointed the team left Slovakia with nothing to show for their efforts but despite suffering a first defeat in 10 matches the Scotland boss insists there were positives for his side.

He said: “I think we have to be balanced about how we feel about it.

“I said to the players after the game that the unbeaten run was always going to end sometime. And that there is a way to lose.

“For me, we lost the right way. It’s always disappointing but it was a good quality performance. We didn’t want the run to stop but it’s not a backward step.

“Think about where we were the last time we lost.

“When you look at the 4-0 defeat to Russia and think about how everyone was feeling at that time, it’s a huge difference.

“We’ve come a long way and we now have a squad of players who are together.

“They want to do well for their country and everyone can see the quality that we’ve got, when we can make eight changes and still be very competitive.”

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