Scotland may have secured a place at Euro 2024 but manager Steve Clarke says all focus is on the remaining qualifying games and not next year’s finals.
The national team will be in December’s tournament draw regardless of the result of Thursday’s match in Georgia or the clash with Norway at Hampden on Sunday. Scotland could yet top the group if Spain slip up, though that’s unlikely, or could improve the seeding prospects if things go their way.
Those possibilities, and a determination to regain momentum after three successive defeats, had the manager shrugging off the significance of reaching a landmark game in charge, and keeping his attention on Thursday’s opposition.
“I didn’t know it was my 50th game until about thirty seconds ago so those sorts of things aren’t at the forefront of my mind,” Clarke said ahead of the game in Tbilisi.
“We want to improve as a team. I’m always thinking about the next game.
“At the moment I’m just thinking about the game tomorrow. We expect a really difficult game in Georgia and I’m just trying to prepare the team as best as I can so that they perform to the best of their ability.”
Scotland’s 2-0 win over Georgia at Hampden was a key result in the qualifying campaign but the team has suffered defeat on the two previous trips to Tbilis in 2015 and 2007. Clarke puts no importance on historic results but is anticipating a tough test for his players.
“What’s past is past and there’s nothing we can do to affect that,” the manager said. “All we can affect is the future and the next game.
“We’ve always tried to improve results no matter who we’ve played against. When you go away from home against a team like Georgia, it’s always going to be a difficult environment.
“It’s going to be a very difficult game for us because I think they’re a very good side. The one game that they lost recently was against Spain but that was a little bit of an anomaly from their recent fixtures because all their recent games have been very competitive and we expect another one tomorrow night.
“If we can go there and get a positive result then it’s only good for us.”
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