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Clarke unconcerned by missed chances and looks towards Austria test

The Scotland boss said the result was paramount after the win over Moldova.

Clarke unconcerned by missed chances and looks towards Austria test SNS Group

Scotland manager Steve Clarke said his side had enjoyed “a good night” with their 1-0 win over Moldova and said that he wasn’t worried by the team’s failure to make the most of their scoring opportunities at Hampden.

Lyndon Dykes scored the only goal of the game to lift Scotland up to third in World Cup qualifying group F, but a host of chances were spurned as Scotland dominated play but couldn’t press home their advantage.

The national team go into a crucial match away against Austria on Tuesday with only two goals from their last five games and needing a positive result to keep alive hopes of qualification.

Clarke looked to the positives from the display against Moldova and said that he would be happy to win 1-0 again next week.

“It was important to win,” the manager said. “It was important to play on the front foot and I think we did that.

“It was important to get a clean sheet and we did that as well so, a good night for us.

“We had to win the game tonight otherwise Tuesday would have been probably a dead rubber so it was nice to get the three points and we look forward to a trip to Vienna and a tough game against the Austrians.

“If we don’t concede any, and we get one chance in the game and score it, that will be clinical enough. If you are not creating chances you are more worried than if you are creating chances and not scoring.”

Several Scotland players had chances to add to the scoreline as the team found openings in the Moldovan defence but the second goal wouldn’t come. Clarke said that the clean sheet had proven to be vital for the team.

HE said: “The Ryan Christie chance at the end is a Ryan Christie goal normally but he snatched at it because it was late in the game.

“Andy Robertson snatched at one in the first half, Kieran Tierney had an unbelievable free header, put it down into the ground but didn’t quite get the right contact. Billy Gilmour had one at the near post. Lots of chances and if you create chances you always have a chance to score.

“You always need the second to stop that little nervy five minutes at the end when everyone in the stadium gets a little too nervous but if you actually watch the game there were no real chances, we defended the game, we saw the game out well.

“I made some changes later in the game to make sure we did that. We spoke about half-time about making sure it was Moldova nil and that’s what we did. And if you keep clean sheets you win games.”

While stressing that a number of players had impressed, including John McGinn on his return after self-isolation, Clarke did praise the two youngest players in his side. Billy Gilmour was assured in midfield, while Nathan Patterson impressed at right wing-back and played a vital part in the goal.

“Nathan had a really good game,” Clarke said. “I wasn’t surprised.

“If you watch him play for Rangers he is a good player. I knew what he would give us, he gave us good energy going forward.

“He almost got his goal in the first start which would have been great but fortunately Lyndon was on hand to knock it over the line. I think he tired in the second half but showed good maturity to sit in and play his position. He can do both sides of the game.

“It was important to get Billy on the ball. Billy dictates the tempo for us, he makes us pass, he makes us play. But don’t forget the senior players as well. It was a big effort from the team to get the result we needed.”