Clarke thrilled with Scotland's Euro 2024 position after 'surreal' night

Clarke saw his Scotland team beat Georgia 2-0 after a 90-minute rain delay.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke said he was delighted with his side’s “magnificent” points tally after a win over Georgia made “surreal” by a 90 -minute rain delay.

A sudden, heavy downpour at Hampden before kick-off in the Euro 2024 qualifier made the pitch unplayable in the early stages and referee István Vad halted play just after Scotland had taken a sixth minute lead through a Callum McGregor goal.

An hour and a half of discussions, checks and emergency ground work by Hampden staff unfolded before play could restart, When it did, Scotland added to their goal tally with a Scott McTominay strike and saw the game out to maintain a 100% record in Group A at the halfway stage in qualifying for next year’s finals.

Clarke admitted he had never seen anything like the scenes that surrounded the delay, which was initially meant to be for just 20 minutes and at one point looked like forcing the abandonment of the match.

“Apart from the birth of my three children, I think it was the longest day of my life,” Clarke said. “There was moments that it was quite surreal.

“The worst one was, I think after the first stoppage, everyone was getting ready, warming up and we’re saying, ‘You go warm up, lads, you’re going to start again in 15 minutes’, and the two teams got in the tunnel and it was absolutely tipping it down and that was that was when you start thinking maybe, maybe we don’t start.

So, look we dealt with it. Mentally, I think the players were great.

“But I have to mention the fans. The fans were magnificent. It would have been easy for them to get a little bit down a little bit, a little bit thinking about going home because the game could have been called off.

“They stayed. Every time we went to the pitch, they got behind us, they cheered, they lifted the lads.

“So all the volunteers that got the brushes and the brooms and everything to get the water off the pitch, you got to say thank you.”

Despite the conditions, Scotland picked up where they left off against Norway with another victory that puts the team in a commanding position in the group.

With four games left to play, Scotland sit eight points clear of the pack, though Spain have two games in hand and Georgia and Cyprus have both played one game fewer.

The perfect start puts Scotland in a strong position to reach next year’s finals in Germany and Clarke was delighted to have taken maximum points. However, he said there was still work to do and there were difficult fixtures ahead.

He said: “We knew, looking at the campaign, the way the fixtures had panned out for us, three home games and a tough trip to Norway.

“So we’re looking at that and saying, let’s get as many points as we can so that we’re in contention going into the second half, which is three difficult away games and a tough home game against Norway.

“We knew we had to get a good points tally. I don’t think anyone would have said 12, but we’ll take it.

“I think we’ve done great to get 12 points for the first four games. I don’t think there’s anyone in this room that would have said, ‘Well, we’ll go into the summer camp with 12’. We’ve got 12.

“So that’s magnificent. But we know we still need we need a few more points. We don’t know what we need.

“So we focus on the next game and we try to win.”

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