Steve Clarke backs Scotland to 'qualify outright' for Euro 2024

Steve Clarke backs his Scotland side to ‘qualify outright’ for Euro 2024 without the need for a play-off… as he hails the team’s ‘giant leap’ forward after gaining promotion to Pool A of the Nations League

  • Scotland drew with Ukraine to secure top spot in their Nations League group
  • Steve Clarke’s side have now been promoted to Pool A of the Nations League
  • As well as this, they have also guaranteed themselves a Euro 2024 play-off spot
  • Clarke thinks they won’t need a play-off to qualify after their recent progress 
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Steve Clarke believes he can take Scotland straight to Euro 2024 without the need for a play-off, hitting back at those who called for him to be sacked in the summer.

The Scots, minus key players, lost their World Cup play-off against Ukraine and suffered a painful 3-0 defeat by Republic of Ireland back in June.

Clarke came in for some fierce criticism in light of those results but he and his team have responded by taking seven points from three games during this international break to top their Nations League group.

Scotland sealed their promotion to Pool A of the Nations League on Tuesday night

Steve Clarke’s side have guaranteed themselves a Euro 2024 play-off spot already

That means promotion to Pool A and the guarantee of a play-off place ahead of qualifying for the European Championship in Germany.

Their elevation was secured thanks to a gritty goalless draw with Ukraine here in Krakow on Tuesday night.

And Clarke is in bullish mood on the back of a fantastic week in which a virus and several injuries had threatened to derail their campaign.

‘I don’t think, with this group of players, that we will need the play-off,’ he said. ‘That’s my honest opinion.

‘We want to improve. You see it in the players and their performances this week. It’s nice to have the safety net of the play-offs, but I feel we can qualify outright.’

Clarke thinks Scotland have taken a ‘giant leap’ forward and won’t need the play-offs to qualify for Euro 2024

The noise around the Scottish camp is now one of great positivity, but the manager said: ‘If you go back to June, some people wanted me out the door. Things can change quickly in football.

‘This has been a good week. Instead of taking a step forward, we’ve taken a giant leap.

‘We’ve found another way to play, we’ve found other players in the squad who can do very, very well for us.

‘I want the players to go away feeling absolutely brilliant about themselves. But let’s not just think that’s enough. Let’s push for more. That’s the message I want to get across. Yes, it’s fantastic, but let’s see if we can get even better.’

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