Clarke: Scotland showed strength in depth with comeback win over Norway

The national team boss said he introduced quality players from the bench to turn around the Euro qualifier.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke praised his side’s character and said the quality he introduced from the bench helped turn the tide in the Euro qualifying win over Norway.

Erling Haaland had given the hosts the lead in Oslo with a second half penalty but late goals from Lyndon Dykes and Kenny McLean saw Scotland take three points to continue their winning start to the campaign.

McLean was one of the substitutes that Clarke had called on to freshen up the side in the second half, with Scotland working hard in hot conditions in the Ullevaal Stadion.

Clarke was happy with the attitude but highlighted the level of the players he was able to bring into the game to effect change.

 “I was pleased with the performance, we were disciplined and passed it quite well at times,” he said.

“Obviously, you have got to soak up a lot of pressure against a good Norwegian team. And we never stopped believing. We keep going to the end and got our rewards.

“It says a lot about the character, the spirit, the quality from the bench. One of the things I keep banging on about with this group of players, the quality we have got, they want to do well for their country.

“And when I turn to the bench and I know I need to make changes to freshen it up, I am putting top-quality players on the pitch.

“It was just about getting the timing right. After losing the goal, I felt it was better just to stay in the fight for a little bit to make sure the game didn’t run away from us.

“After that we had to chase the game, it was pretty logical – you are going to take off a defender and push John McGinn a little bit further forward.

“We brought Kenny to the game, Billy Gilmour to the game, brought Stuart Armstrong to the game, fresh legs to try and get forward and they were involved in most of the best things towards the end of the game.

“Even Dominic (Hyam) comes on at the end and sticks his head on a couple. Congratulations to Dominic, first cap, not a bad place to do it, not a bad score.”

The result leaves Scotland sitting top of Euro 2024 qualifying group A with maximum points from the opening three matches against Cyprus, Spain and Norway. Georgia travel to Hampden to face Scotland on Tuesday night and Clarke’s side will be aiming for another three points to be in pole position at the mid-point in the campaign.

The manager acknowledged a strong start but refused to get carried away.

“If we want to qualify for major tournaments, which we do, you know you have to go away from home [and earn points],” he said. “In a four-team group with eight matches, four home wins only gets you 12 points. 12 points won’t qualify.

“So you have to go away from home against good teams and pick up points. Obviously tonight is three points, which is big, but we have to go again.

“They are all in recovering in an ice bath. We have to go again on Tuesday night and make sure that we capitalise on the nine points that we’ve got and get another three points at home to Georgia.

“It sets us up nicely for Tuesday night. Beyond that, I’m not looking. I’m only looking at Tuesday night. And if we can get more points and put ourselves in a good position over the summer, then it would be nice to be top of the section and give ourselves a chance in the second half of the campaign.”

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