Clarke demands Georgia focus as Scotland bid to preserve perfect start

The Scotland boss believes the feel good factor from the late show against Norway can spur his side on against historically tricky opponents.

Steve Clarke is determined Scotland keep their “eyes on the ball” and continue the feel good factor from the thrilling late victory over Norway into Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifying meeting with Georgia.

Kenny McLean’s late winner at the Ullevaal Stadium secured three straight qualifying wins for the Tartan Army to move the side clear at the top of group A.

A similar run was brought to an abrupt halt 16 years ago by the Georgians on an infamous night in Tblisi and Clarke remains wary of a repeat when they arrive at a sold out Hampden boasting Serie A winner Khvicha Kvaratskhelia among a talented squad.

However, the Scotland boss believes his side can carry on the momentum from a gutsy display in Oslo and previous home victories over Spain and Cyprus to take a step closer to booking their place in Germany next summer.

“The players feel good, they are looking forward to another full house at Hampden,” he said.

“We spoke after the March camp about capitalising on the win against Spain. We managed to do that, albeit late on against Norway. We bring a feel good factor on the back of those two results, but we know football has a habit of biting you.

“It’s something we’ve been working on over the last three or four years, since I’ve been in the job. We’ve tried to build the togetherness of the group, we’ve tried to build the ones that we’re picking regularly, the core of the group, to drive those standards and obviously when you are getting good results, everything feels good.

“But we understand that if you take your eye off the ball, you can be punished.”

Clarke has no injury concerns going into the clash despite a gruelling campaign for many of his players.

The Georgians, managed by former French international Willy Sagnol, are on a run of one defeat in their last 15 matches and picked up their first win of the campaign in Cyprus on Saturday having drawn with Norway earlier this year.

In Kvaratskhelia, they have one of the breakout stars of the European football scene following his starring role in Napoli’s Scudetto triumph.

He contributed 12 goals and ten assists to that success and was named the Champions League’s young player of the season.

But Clarke was insistent that Tuesday’s opponents pose more than a single threat.

“They’re on a good run, they’ll feel good about themselves,” he said.

“They got a good win in Cyprus, which is a difficult place to go, they have good players and they are well organised.

“They are a real threat, especially going forward, so we will have to defend well. But they are a good side. We have to respect them and respect the game and try and get the three points.”

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