Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong has credited Steve Clarke with instilling a winning mentality in the squad as the manager prepares for his 50th game in charge of his country.
Clarke is looking for a 25th win as an international manager when Scotland face Georgia in Tbilisi on Thursday.
The former West Brom and Kilmarnock boss has already led Scotland to a second consecutive European Championship finals, having ended a 23-year exile from major tournaments.
Armstrong said: “He has been hugely influential. He has brought a winning mentality to Scotland that perhaps wasn’t there before and the belief that we can go into big games and come out with results and points.
“I think that’s been a huge change, when perhaps we failed to cross the line at certain points.
“Huge credit goes to him for bringing that mentality, bringing a system and mentality that we can achieve these things. He has had a hugely positive impact on the squad and the country as a whole.”
The Southampton midfielder added: “Since he has come in we have gone from strength to strength. There is real consistency about the team and the way we perform, and results, so I think his influence on the Scotland national team has been significant, hugely positive.
“He has created an atmosphere where players want to come and play, they enjoy it, but ultimately players want to be successful.
“It’s helped by the fact that a large proportion of the group have been together for a long time. Everybody is very familiar with one another. You have got some very interesting characters, funny characters, that bring a lot to the group.
“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, but serious when it needs to be. The blend is very good and that is amplified by the manager.”
Scotland won their opening five Group A games before losing 2-0 to Spain after Scott McTominay’s opener was controversially disallowed.
That defeat in Seville was sandwiched between friendly losses by England and France and Armstrong is determined to return to winning ways in their penultimate qualifier.
“I think it would be a really strong campaign if we finished with two good results,” the former Dundee United and Celtic midfielder said. “It would be something we could be really proud of.
“The feeling from the friendlies is a little bit of disappointment and we know we can do better. To get back to that winning form would mean a lot for the team.”
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