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Clarke praises Patterson and Gordon as Scotland land play-off place

The Scotland boss says the team will reflect on a job well done in Moldova.

Clarke praises Patterson and Gordon as Scotland land play-off place SNS Group

Steve Clarke has praised his players for their efforts in securing a World Cup play-off place and says they put a lot into the World Cup qualification campaign.

Goals from Nathan Patterson and Che Adams gave Scotland a 2-0 win over Moldova and sealed second place in the group and entry into next year’s play-offs.

With top seeds Denmark qualifying with ease, Scotland have seen off Austria and Israel in a competitive section to be runners-up. With the Danes coming to Hampden on Monday, Clarke is eyeing a final push to have the added bonus of being seeded for the play-offs.

“I’m pleased for the players,” he told STV. “They’ve put a lot into the campaign to jump up from our seeding. We were third seeds and we’ve jumped to finish in second position.

“It’s a good achievement but we still have a game to go. We’re pleased to win tonight, we’re pleased to get the security of second place and the play-off place in March but now we want to make it a wee bit better.

“It’s important to get as many points as we can out of the group. If we can get something out of the game on Monday night then I would expect us to be seeded, which may help the qualification. But we don’t know until the draw is made.

“It’s nice to be in the play-offs. I think on the flight back we’ll reflect on that, enjoy that and then get ready to go again on Monday night.”

Rangers youngster Patterson put Scotland on the road to victory with a well-struck first half goal, then set up Adams for his goal before giving away a late penalty and Clarke was impressed with his contribution.

“You see what he brings, especially in an attacking sense,” the manager said. “His goal was good, a left foot finish from a right full-back is always nice to see. He linked up again with John McGinn for the second goal and put a good ball in for Che to score.

“Probably a little bit inexperienced with the penalty when he didn’t have to go for the ball in such a manner but he’ll learn.

“The more football Nathan plays, the better he’ll get and hopefully he gets more games soon for his club.”

That late Moldova penalty was stopped by Craig Gordon, who also made a key stop at 0-0, with Clarke saying that his enduring class was a big asset.

“Craig’s in a great place, in the form of his life,” he said. “It’s great to have a goalkeeper like that.

“It was nice to see him save the penalty but did it surprise me? Not really because I know the type of goalkeeper he is and he’s playing ever so well for us.”