Steve Clarke hailed his Scotland players for another strong performance but insisted the win over Cyprus was just “another step” towards Euro 2024 qualification.
Scotland could be guaranteed a place in the finals by Tuesday night if Norway and Georgia draw their next group game, and regardless of that result, two points from the three games left facing Clarke’s team would secure qualification.
Though on the brink of securing a return to the Euros after ending Scotland’s long spell in the international wilderness when leading the team to Euro 2020, the national team boss was his usual cautious self after seeing his side enjoy a comfortable victory in Larnaca.
“It was good, another step on the road to what we want to do, which is qualify,” he said.
“It was a good performance, goals in the first half, well-controlled the second half. We have to be pleased.
“We work on the philosophy game to game, game to game, game to game. I know in this campaign we played five, we’ve got 15 points. That’s good. I’d like to think that the last three games are going to pick up more points.”
“We’re in a good position. I’m pleased that the fans can enjoy another win. I’m pleased that they think they can book the flight.
Fans can do what they want, they can be excited, they can get carried away. We just have to focus and work on what we’re at.
“If 15 points is enough, we’ll find out later down the line. We’re not going to find out tonight.”
Early goals from Scott McTominay, Ryan Porteous and John McGinn meant Scotland enjoyed a relatively stress-free night against opposition who have shown themselves to be dangerous in the past. Clarke was impressed with how his team handled the occasion and took their goals but identified a different moment as being an example of what his team’s mentality is.
In the dying moments, with three points already assured, Ryan Porteous threw himself full-length to block a shot on goal, and he earned his manager’s praise.
“For me, the best moment of the game,” said Clarke
“That tells everybody what we are about. We didn’t want to concede.
“We spoke at half-time about maybe we can get four, maybe we can get five but the most important thing is Cyprus gets nil and that block at the end tells you everything about this team and the mentality they have got.”