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Clarke undecided on Scotland captaincy with Robertson out of Poland clash

The Scotland boss says he has plenty of leaders in his squad who can step up.

Steve Clarke undecided on Scotland captaincy with Andy Robertson out of Poland clash SNS Group

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has said that he hasn’t made any call yet on who will captain the team against Poland – but says he has options to replace Andy Robertson.

Robertson has been ruled out of the Hampden challenge match with Covid, meaning someone else will wear the armband on Thursday night.

Clarke was relaxed about the call, pointing out that he has numerous leaders throughout his squad and all capable of taking on the responsibility of the national team when needed.

“No, I haven’t decided yet,” he said. “I’ve got so many candidates.”

John McGinn is the named vice-captain but Clarke said that there were others who had that role at their clubs and could step up.

He said: “Callum McGregor is captain of Celtic, Grant Hanley is captain of Norwich, Craig Gordon, captain of Hearts. I’ve got loads of captains.

“That’s fantastic. I love it.”

Clarke will have plenty of selection decisions to make but was happy that with the game being a friendly he can make six substitutions and get a look at, or give minutes, to 17 players.

Aaron Hickey, who has been called up to the squad for the first time, won’t feature against Poland due to illness but could play against Wales or Austria next Tuesday. Clarke said he had been impressed by the teenage full-back’s season at Bologna and thought he full deserved his chance.

He said: “Obviously, Aaron made a really brave decision as a young man to move abroad and work in Italy.

“So he’s grown up pretty quickly.

“He’s fitted in and comes across as a really confident guy and I look forward to seeing him on the pitch.

“I was always sort of thinking with Aaron to just let him settle into the squad and see how it goes. We’ve two games, it’s not a case of rushing him and throwing him in the first game.

“He’s still a young man and he’s got plenty of time on his side. So I was undecided about that one anyway.”

Nathan Patterson is likely to get game time despite being out of the first team picture at Everton, while new call-up Craig Halkett may also get a chance but Clarke said that his focus is on maintaining momentum after an impressive 2021.

“I don’t really get hung up too much on ‘blooding’ the new faces,” he said. “If that is part of the process of these next two games, then that is what will happen.

“For me, the most important part is we get the nucleus of the squad together again, who did so well for us at the last in the last year and try and pick up where we left off.

“It’s refresh, reboot and try and kick on.”