Lewis Ferguson believes Scotland’s friendly game in Turkey on Wednesday night was good preparation for next year’s tough European Championship qualifiers.
There was a lively crowd in Diyarbakir which was hosting the Turkish national team for the first time and the home fans saw their team move into a well-deserved two-goal lead through an Ozan Kabak header and a neat finish by Cengiz Under.
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn pulled a goal back with a terrific strike just after the hour-mark but it was not enough to prevent Scotland losing for the first time in five games.
Next up for Clarke’s side is the Euro qualifiers with the Scots in a group which includes Spain, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus.
The campaign will begin against Cyprus at Hampden Park on March 25, 2023, followed by a home match against Spain the following Tuesday.
Bologna midfielder Ferguson, 23, who came on as a late substitute against Turkey, told the Scotland official Twitter account: “In the qualifiers we are going away to some tough venues, some tough atmospheres and places similar to this so this game was probably the right one in terms of preparing us for what’s to come.
“It was a difficult game, we knew that going there, we knew it would be hostile with a big crowd. I think that’s the kind of game the manager wanted.
“He wants us to be better away from home and going to places like that and atmospheres like that, it is something we want to improve on and it was a good test overall.”
Ferguson, who moved to the Serie A side from Aberdeen in the summer, was happy to be back involved after being left out of the squad for the Nations League games against Ukraine (home and away) and Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park in September.
He said: “At the time I was disappointed but the manager’s judgement was spot on.
“I had a good chat with him, I fully understood his reasons and it has worked in my favour.
“At the time I got left out the squad we had just got a new manager (at Bologna) so it was time for me to get some training under the new manager and try to impress.
“Since that I have come into the team and done really well so I am loving life over there and long may it continue.
“If you want to progress you have to come out of your comfort zone and moving to a new country, a different culture, different kind of football, a different league, it will improve me as a player and by improving it will obviously enhance my chances of getting more minutes for the national team which is what I want.”