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Clarke: Draw with Dutch proves strength of Scotland squad

A depleted Scotland team drew 2-2 in their friendly against Netherlands.

Clarke: Draw with Dutch proves strength of Scotland squad SNS Group

Scotland boss Steve Clarke believes his side’s 2-2 draw with Netherlands proves the quality he has throughout his squad ahead of Euro 2020.

The national team twice held the lead against the Dutch and were unlucky not to win, despite seven players remaining back at the training base after John Fleck’s positive Covid-19 test.

Those absences meant a new-look line-up started the friendly in Portugal and Clarke was rewarded with a positive result. Jack Hendry and Kevin Nisbet both scored their first international goals but Memphis Depay scored a double with the Dutch forward’s second goal coming from a questionable free-kick.

Celtic youngster David Turnbull impressed on his debut and Clarke also brought on Billy Gilmour for his first cap. The manager said that he was happy with all the contributions.

“We have a good squad and I said that right from the minute I picked the squad, I was happy with it,” he said.

“Good balance, good options, we do a lot of work on the training ground that is very similar, one right centre-back will know what the next one’s going to do.

“Everyone knows their job and role within the team. I think that showed tonight.

“I don’t think it would have been five or six that would have started but there would have been two or three, but the boys who came in and replaced them know the roles and jobs and that’s what we have to do before we get to the actual tournament.

“Obviously we would have liked to have won the game, we are feeling a little bit that the referee took it away from us with a really soft free-kick, but we can overlook that a little bit.

“We wanted to put in a good performance and I think we managed to do that against a good Dutch team. So it was a good night for us.”

David Marshall, Stephen O’Donnell, Nathan Patterson, Grant Hanley, John McGinn and Che Adams will all return to training on Thursday and Clarke will now assess his options ahead of the friendly in Luxembourg on Sunday. The match is Scotland’s last action before their Euro 2020 opener against Czech Republic on June 14.

Clarke’s work is all focused on getting the selection right for that match at Hampden and he said that he had plenty of food for thought after seeing his team step up against one of Europe’s best teams.

“That was a good performance and that gives me more decisions to make as the head coach and that’s what we want,” he said.

“I want difficult decisions, I want sleepless nights and ultimately I want to make sure I pick the right team for the starting game in the tournament.

“The performance didn’t really surprise me. I feel we are getting better and the more we play against the top nations and show we can be competitive, hopefully the more we can grow as a team.”