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Scotland boss Steve Clarke targeting Nations League promotion with victory over Israel

Scotland boss Steve Clarke.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

Nations League promotion is a huge target for Steve Clarke – so Scotland can pit themselves against the world’s best.

Victory in Israel tonight will see Scotland achieve back-to-back promotions in the Nations League, as well as giving them a greater chance of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

That would mean when the next Nations League takes place in two years’ time, they could be facing teams such as England, Belgium, Germany, Spain and world champions France.

Clarke said: “In terms of trying to improve as well it’s important. If you are challenging yourself against the very best over the course of six matches over a three month period then you can only get better as a group.

Steve Clarke with coach John Carver.

“You can look deeper inside yourself and find ways to compete with the top teams and that’s what we want. We want to be in that position.

“It would be good. And something that we are all determined to make happen tomorrow night, with all respect to Israel.

“They are a good team and they have shown that in recent matches against us that there is not a lot between the two sides. We will have to be at our best to get the result that we want.”

Clarke has a fully-fit squad available to him for the game in Netanya, which will cap off a gruelling-yet-impressive triple-header for Scotland.

They sealed qualification to Euro 2020, ending their two decades in the international wilderness, and also delivered a creditable performance in defeat against Slovakia.

Clarke added: “You saw the performance was good, focused and it deserved more than we got. Hopefully you will see the same tonight because three points is vital.

“The next step for us now is to concentrate on World Cup qualification. This can give us a platform. If we can win this group and get promotion to the A groups, it gives us a good chance, a back-up which we already know the benefit of.

“In December, the World Cup is drawn. I believe we are in pot three, which is a little bit of progress. We have gone from Nations League C to Nations League B, one step away from Nations League A. That’s progress. We want to keep progressing.

“When you want to keep progressing, you can’t rest on your laurels. You can’t rest on what you’ve done.

“Maybe when we get back and have a little bit more time to think about it, we can look back.  But at the moment I am only looking forward to the game tonight.”

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