Steve Clarke hopes Billy Gilmour gets back to playing as soon as possible but stressed his absence is an opportunity for someone else to be a Scotland hero.
Scotland were struck with the bombshell on Monday afternoon that Gilmour, who starred on his first international start against England on Friday, had tested positive for Covid-19 and would miss tomorrow’s game with Croatia.
The Scottish FA insist no-one else within the squad will isolate in addition to Gilmour, however his Chelsea team-mates Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell are to stay away from the England camp as a precaution.
Clarke hopes for a swift return to action for Gilmour but his absence against the 2018 World Cup finalists presents a chance for someone else to step up.
The Scotland boss said: “He is upset as you would expect. He is asymptomatic, no symptoms. Hopefully his health will hold up, he won’t have too many symptoms and he can get back to playing as quickly as possible. Obviously, it’s a blow for us in terms of the team, but it’s a chance for someone else.
“The only spanner it throws into the works is Billy would have started the game and now he won’t. So it’s a chance for someone else to come into the team and make themselves a national hero.”
Gilmour would have retained his place for the game at Hampden Park, which Scotland need to win to stand a chance of qualifying from Group D.
Clarke added that his preparations had been disrupted slightly by the news but the majority of work had already been done for the game.
He said: “Just a little bit. Obviously, today’s training was just a little bit disrupted. But the bulk of the work has been done over the pre-camp, over the training days earlier in the tournament. So we have done the bulk of the work.
“You saw for yourself that the team know exactly what they’re doing when they get to the pitch in both games. The team has been organised, they know what they’re doing, they know what they have to do. That will stand us in good stead for the game tomorrow.”
There was no indication from the Scotland head coach how Gilmour may have contracted the virus, instead passing that responsibility on to his medical team.
Clarke added: “My job is to prepare the team for the game and I am concentrating on that. The medical team I have got around me are good people. They deal with that side of the issue. I just get ready for the game.”