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Steve Clarke: A run-down of his 21 games as Scotland manager ahead of Euro 2020 opener

Scotland manager Steve Clarke in a blue Scotland jacket.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Steve Clarke will become the first man to lead Scotland out at a major tournament tomorrow since Craig Brown at France 98.

The former Kilmarnock and West Brom boss has had a transformative effect on the national team’s fortunes since taking charge two years ago.

Replacing Alex McLeish after a nightmarish start to their European Championship qualifiers, Clarke repaired some of the damage late in 2019 before delivering a 2020 many fans will never forget.

When he walks out with Scotland at Hampden Park against Czech Republic tomorrow afternoon, he will follow in the footsteps of Brown 23 years ago, who managed the country against Brazil, Norway and Morocco at the World Cup.

Clarke’s tenure has spanned 21 games to date and here is a run-down of how the nation has fared under his stewardship.

 

June 8, 2019 – Scotland 2-1 Cyprus, Uefa European Championship qualifier

Clarke’s reign got off to the perfect start with a dramatic late win at Hampden Park.

Andy Robertson had put the Scots in front with a spectacular long-range effort in the second half but Ioannis Kousoulos looked to have snatched a draw with three minutes remaining.

However, there was time for further drama with Oli Burke grabbing a stoppage-time goal.

 

June 11, 2019 – Belgium 3-0 Scotland, Uefa European Championship qualifier

A backs-to-the-wall job in Brussels was not enough to stop a rampant Belgium in the capital.

The hosts broke through on the stroke of half-time through Romelu Lukaku, with the striker adding a second 12 minutes into the second half.

The result was completed with a late third from Kevin de Bruyne.

 

September 6, 2019 – Scotland 1-2 Russia, Uefa European Championship qualifier

The one that got away for Clarke and Scotland. John McGinn put the home side ahead but they went in level at half-time through Artem Dzyuba’s equaliser.

An own-goal from Stephen O’Donnell in the second half sent Russia home as victors.

 

September 9, 2019 – Scotland 0-4 Belgium, Uefa European Championship qualifier

Scotland were outclassed by Belgium in Glasgow as the gulf in class between the two sides was plainly evident.

The visitors were three up at the break, with goals from Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld.

De Bruyne capped off a comfortable evening with the fourth.

 

October 10, 2019 – Russia 4-0 Scotland, Uefa European Championship qualifier

After promising first half, Clarke’s side fell apart in the second as Russia dominated in Moscow.

A double from Dzyuba was added to by Magomed Ozdoyev and Aleksandr Golovin to keep the home side on course for automatic qualification.

 

October 13, 2019 – Scotland 6-0 San Marino, Uefa European Championship qualifier

A rain-soaked night at Hampden finally provided Clarke with some much-needed optimism.

A hat-trick from McGinn had Scotland in control by the break, with Lawrence Shankland, Stuart Findlay and Stuart Armstrong all finding the net in the second half.

 

November 16, 2019 – Cyprus 1-2 Scotland, Uefa European Championship qualifier

A rare win on the road gave Clarke back-to-back victories for the first time as Scotland manager.

Ryan Christie put them in front, only for Georgios Efrem to score early in the second half. McGinn popped up with the winner to see Scotland home.

 

November 19, 2019 – Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan, Uefa European Championship qualifier

McGinn was the man again for Clarke as he was at the double to finish the Euro qualifiers in style.

Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov had put the visitors ahead before the Aston Villa man’s brace and another from Steven Naismith.

 

September 4, 2020 – Scotland 1-1 Israel, Uefa Nations League

After the Covid-19 pandemic put international football in cold storage for nearly a year, Clarke and Scotland returned with a 1-1 draw against familiar opponents.

A Christie penalty put Scotland ahead at half-time but Eran Zahavi levelled the scores in the second period.

 

September 7, 2020 – Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland, Uefa Nations League

A much-changed Czech team, owing to a Covid-19 outbreak, gave Scotland a fright in Olomouc.

Jakub Pesek opened the scoring, before Lyndon Dykes grabbed his first international goal and Christie once again found the net from the spot.

 

October 8, 2020 – Scotland 0-0 Israel (Scotland win 5-3 on pens), Uefa European Championship play-off semi-final

The one that mattered as far as Steve Clarke was concerned. Originally due to take place in March 2020, Scotland might have had to wait an extra seven months but they got what they wanted in the end.

The first of two crucial penalty shoot-out wins was sealed by Kenny McLean’s nerveless kick.

 

October 11, 2020 – Scotland 1-0 Slovakia, Uefa Nations League

An accomplished performance from Scotland at Hampden gave them another impressive win under Clarke.

Dykes was the man in the right place again, finishing from close range to hand the home side the points.

 

October 14, 2020 – Scotland 1-0 Czech Republic, Uefa Nations League

Scotland complete a hat-trick of wins during the October international break with a 1-0 win over the Czechs.

Ryan Fraser’s early goal was all that separated the two sides, with the opponents’ Premier League pair Matej Vydra and Tomas Soucek missing sitters.

 

November 12, 2020 – Serbia 1-1 Scotland (Scotland win 5-4 on pens), Uefa European Championship play-off final

The night no-one will ever forget, when Clarke’s men upset the odds to end their 20-year tournament exile.

Christie had put the Scots in front only for Luka Jovic to break hearts with a stoppage-time equaliser.

Extra-time was equally as nerve-rattling, until David Marshall’s heroics earned Scotland their Euro berth.

 

November 15, 2020 – Slovakia 1-0 Scotland, Uefa Nations League

Scotland’s hopes of another Nations League promotion was dashed with defeat in Trnava.

Jan Gregus’ goal was all that separated the two sides, as Clarke rang the changes after the Serbia triumph.

 

November 18, 2020 – Israel 1-0 Scotland, Uefa Nations League

Clarke’s side ended their Nations League campaign with back-to-back defeats.

Manor Solomon’s goal just before the half-time whistle ensured Israel got a manner of revenge for their play-off defeat.

 

March 25, 2021 – Scotland 2-2 Austria, Uefa World Cup qualifier

A tepid encounter came to life in the second half as Scotland started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a draw.

Sasa Kalajdzic got the first of his two goals on 55 minutes but Grant Hanley dragged Scotland level. Kalajdzic scored again with 10 minutes to go only for McGinn to level matters with an overhead kick.

 

March 28, 2021 – Israel 1-1 Scotland, Uefa World Cup qualifier

Familiar foes Israel once again provided obdurate opposition for Clarke and Scotland, with a point apiece for the two sides in Tel Aviv.

Dor Peretz had the hosts in front at the break but Fraser equalised 11 minutes after the interval.

 

March 31, 2021 – Scotland 4-0 Faroe Islands, Uefa World Cup qualifier

The last competitive game before the Euros saw Scotland run out comfortable winners at Hampden.

McGinn continued his hot streak in front of goal under Clarke, with Ché Adams netting his first for Scotland and Fraser rounding off a solid night’s work.

 

June 2, 2021 – Netherlands 2-2 Scotland, Friendly

A thoroughly entertaining friendly saw Scotland denied an impressive win at the last by a dubious free-kick.

A well-taken goal from Jack Hendry gave them the lead before Memphis Depay levelled for the Dutch.

Kevin Nisbet’s first goal for Scotland had them in front again only for Depay to earn and score from a very soft set-piece in the closing moments.

 

June 6, 2021 – Luxembourg 0-1 Scotland, Friendly

Adams scored the only goal in a comfortable victory for Scotland, which was made easier after Vahid Selimovic’s first-half red card.

It was the Southampton striker’s second goal in four outings for the national side and their final warm-up game before the Euros.

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