The issue of Kieran Tierney’s fitness dominated the narrative on Scotland’s return to tournament football and manager Steve Clarke still has doubts whether he will be ready for England.
Tierney sat out the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic with a calf problem and, while he undertook some light training on Tuesday, Clarke cannot be certain the Arsenal man will be available for England.
“I knew there was an issue 48 hours before the game,” said Clarke. “You are hoping when he wakes up the next day he will be okay and you can tell he has a chance.
“You can tell how close he was because he was back in light training on Tuesday morning. It was just a little niggle.
“You can’t play with a calf injury. He is back light training that is a big difference to normal training.
“I wouldn’t think Kieran will train tomorrow (Wednesday). I can’t tell if he is going to be okay, that is the honest answer.”
Tierney’s place on Monday was taken by Leeds defender Liam Cooper, but it deprived Clarke and Scotland of one of their most reliable attacking outlets.
“He is okay and wanted to play, like everybody wanted to play,” added Clarke. “There were two others who were left out with him, John Fleck and Declan Gallagher, they also wanted to play.
“We have waited a long time for the tournament to come and to miss out is a bit of a blow. We are used to that, it was football.
“Injuries are part and parcel of the game. Kieran was out, but Grant Hanley is the captain of Norwich, Liam Cooper is the captain of Leeds and Jack Hendry has had a fantastic season in Belgium and quite a few clubs want to sign him.
“I don’t think the back three was a big problem for us on Monday. I don’t think the system was a problem, but the opposition was a problem because they did their jobs well and we didn’t have quite enough quality in the final third to get the goals I think your play deserved. That is what happens in football.”
Scotland were able to fashion chances against the Czechs, but a clinical edge in front of goal deserted them.
Lyndon Dykes had several of those opportunities, hitting one wide and seeing two saved by goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
“All I say to him is ‘just keep getting into those positions big man because eventually the goals will start coming.’,” said Clarke. “Is it confidence? I don’t know, I don’t know.
“With strikers it’s about getting into the positions. They’ll all go through a run of games where they’re scoring quite regularly. Like Lyndon did at the end of last season.
“Then they go through little patches when the ball doesn’t quite fall for them and hit the back of the net. But Lyndon has a good mentality so he’ll keep getting in there.”
Clarke also came to the defence of Stephen O’Donnell, who has taken some flak for his performance at Hampden Park.
“Analyse the game and tell me what Stephen did wrong? How many chances came off that side?” said the Scotland boss.
“Jakub Jankto, one of their most dangerous players, had a quiet game. Their left-back, a really good attacking left-back, Jan Boril, didn’t create a chance in the game.
“So analyse the game before we start killing players, just because who they are and where they play.
“Analyse his games when he plays for us. Look at his performances objectively. Just look at the games.
“Stephen’s first job is to be a defender. So analyse the games. That’s all I’ll say on that one.”