Clarke shrugs off criticism after Scotland's World Cup disappointment

The Scot sees no need for wholesale changes despite the defeat to Ukraine.

Steve Clarke shrugs off criticism after Scotland’s World Cup disappointment SNS Group

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has said that he won’t pay attention to his critics after the national team missed out on the World Cup, and doesn’t see the need to make huge changes from the style and tactics he’s instilled in the side.

Sunday’s 3-1 play-off defeat at home to Ukraine ended the hopes of reaching Qatar 2022 but also saw some question Clarke’s set-up and selection, as the team failed to deliver the performance needed on the night.

The manager conceded that the better team had won and said that he and his staff analysed what went wrong but said that he didn’t think it would be sensible to make drastic changes to the approach after what he sees as steady improvement overall in the last couple of years.

“We had a big disappointment to lose to Denmark last year and we bounced back with six wins,” he said. “We’ve now lost one in nine and everybody wants to change what worked before – I’m not sure where the logic is in that.”

Clarke said that he wasn’t aware of the public criticism, and joked that he goes to his “happy place” when dealing with it, but insisted that he was looking forward and not back.

“They’re entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I don’t know what it was because I didn’t read it, I didn’t hear it, I didn’t listen to it.

“I deal with games and disappointments and move on. We’ve all been hurting but you have to move on, so Armenia tomorrow, I’m focused on that.”

The national team now begin their Nations League campaign at home to Armenia on Wednesday and the manager will be without striker Lyndon Dykes through injury.

Clarke said that he does intend to use his squad over the next week, which also sees the team travel to Dublin to face Republic of Ireland and to Yerevan for the return match with Armenia. While freshness will be important, the manager isn’t likely to use the games to make too many changes.

“With the way the calendar is structured now there are not so many friendly games so there are no real chances to experiment, although we had some friendlies in March which was unusual,” he said.

“I’ve always said I’ve got a really good squad, I enjoy the squad. I think there are people in the squad who deserve the chance to play over the next three games and hopefully you’ll see that.”