Scotland boss Steve Clarke admits it has been the most disruptive week of his tenure as the national side prepare to face Denmark with just 16 outfield players available.
Stephen O’Donnell and Kevin Nisbet were the latest to miss the game, with the latter ruled out through a knock and O’Donnell falling foul of restrictions in Denmark having recently tested positive for Covid-19.
Scott McTominay, Stuart Armstrong, James Forrest and Greg Taylor had already dropped out of the squad due to injury, while John McGinn and Nathan Patterson are self-isolating. McGinn and Patterson are expected to be available for the game against Moldova on Saturday, however, along with O’Donnell.
Clarke has called on Uefa to look at moving this international window in future, to allow greater time to respond to unforeseen circumstances like this.
He said: “I had a great day with my kids and my grandkids on Saturday before I came up. I tried to forget all the issues. But it’s definitely been the most disruptive week going into a camp.
“I don’t want to sound like a Moaning Minnie, but I think Uefa need to have a little look at it and see if we can separate the international window from the end of the European or world transfer window. Give us a little bit more time if they are going to play games.
“One of the biggest issues in terms of getting players and getting replacements into the squad was the timescale between getting the squad together on Sunday night and the game being on the Wednesday.
“If the game had been on the Thursday, that extra 24 hours is absolutely invaluable in terms of re-adjusting your squad a little bit.
“So there’s a little bit of help that could be had from the authorities in terms of scheduling.”
The absence of O’Donnell came as a surprise to Clarke but he was keen not to make a big issue out of the Motherwell defender’s absence. It could mean Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser starts in a more defensive berth in the World Cup qualifier tonight.
Clarke added: “We had it sprung on us a little bit. But listen I don’t really want to make too big a thing about it because people are dying of Covid all over the world.
“There are people on ventilators and family life is being disrupted left, right and centre.
“Football is a little microcosm of society and at the end of the day it’s not really such a big issue because the team we have on the pitch will be a really good team and the players we have on the bench are really good players.
“I don’t want to make it a big drama about Covid issues and losing players for a game because people are losing their lives over this.
“My daughter has been suffering from long Covid since January, so I understand that people are suffering with this disease. So let’s not go too far down the road of ‘poor us’.”
Defender Jack Hendry met the squad in Denmark, after playing for club Oostende on Sunday. The ex-Celtic and Dundee centre-back was lined up for a move to fellow Jupiler League side Club Brugge yesterday.
Clarke added: “Jack played at 9pm on Sunday night in Belgium and couldn’t make the UEFA testing deadline we had in this country, so we arranged for him to do that in Belgium and just go straight to Copenhagen.”