Steve Clarke insists Scotland face ‘another cup final’ against Israel after defeating Austria in Vienna… as SFA’s website CRASHES following surge in demand for tickets for next month’s showdown at Hampden Park
- Lyndon Dykes’ penalty saw Scotland beat Austria in their World Cup qualifier
- Steve Clarke’s men are now second in Group F, a point clear of third place Israel
- The two sides meet next month, with the SFA site crashing amid ticket demands
- Clarke pulled up the critics following recent criticism of the team’s tactics
Steve Clarke has primed Scotland for a cup final against old foes Israel in Glasgow next month.
A first half Lyndon Dykes penalty – awarded after a VAR check – secured a superb 1-0 win over Austria in Vienna.
Now second in Group F, a point clear of the third place Israelis, the SFA website crashed on Tuesday night after a surge in demand for tickets for next month’s Hampden showdown.
Steve Clarke has primed Scotland for a cup final against old foes Israel in Glasgow next month
A Lyndon Dykes penalty – awarded after a VAR check – secured a superb 1-0 win over Austria
And, with a second place play-off for Qatar now within touching distance after group second seeds Austria were booed off the pitch at the Ernst Happel Stadium, Clarke can’t wait for the latest big game against familiar rivals Israel on October 9.
Asked to assess the significance of one of the biggest wins of his tenure the Scotland boss said: ‘It means that the next game is another cup final. You have to keep picking up points.
‘It was an important night for us to get something from the game. We managed to come here and put in a good performance, a good footballing performance, and we got the ball down and passed it well.’
Irked by recent criticism of the team’s tactics Clarke pulled up the critics saying: ‘We’re not a long ball team as some people try to label us. We can play.
Scotland are now second in Group F, a point clear of the third place Israelis, who they face next month
‘If we have to go long we can play and fight for it. If we have to get it down and make the passes we can make the passes. I think we deserve a little bit more respect.
‘I’m just talking about people in general. I’ve seen it a couple of times, the ‘long ball’ label.
‘I’ve got a fantastic group of players who want to be successful for their country. They turn up, they come to these games and it’s been a really difficult week.
‘We went to Denmark, a tough place to go, a lot of injuries and a lot of problems and went 2-0 early in the game and we dug in. We got criticised for saying that, that we dug in, but Israel went there tonight and lost 5-0.’
With Denmark running away with the group,, anything less than a point from Austria would have spelled the end of any realistic hope of the Scots reaching a Qatar play-off.
Irked by recent criticism of the team’s tactics, Clarke pulled up the critics after the win
The only negative from a heroic display all over the pitch came with bookings for Grant Hanley and Che Adams which rules the pair out of the Israel game.
‘We knew we had to come away with something from the next two games and we’ve come away with six points,’ added Clarke.
‘If I had said to you guys at the start of the week that we would come out with six points you would all have been delighted. So it’s a pleasing night for us, I’m really pleased for the players.’
‘They want to be successful. They show that every time they come together.
‘They have shown that consistently over the two years I’ve been with the group. I think we have come a long way. I think we can get better, I think we will get better, and tonight is another step on that road.’
Che Adams will miss the Israel game through suspension after picking up a booking in Vienna
Video technology worked both for and against the Scots. The winning goal came from a spot kick belatedly awarded against Austria’s Martin Hinteregger, minutes after the defender had been booked for a scything tackle on Callum McGregor.
While the delayed penalty was a clear call for the Bulgarian referee the failure to show a red card to either Hinteregger or Marco Arnautovic for an assault on Billy Gilmour prompted bemusement.
‘I’m not really too sure what the rules are. I’m not going to go moaning about it, we got a penalty on a VAR decision and won the game on that penalty. I’m not a big fan of the double jeopardy.
‘It was a foul, it maybe should have been a yellow, I’m not sure about the red. I don’t know the rules.’
Asked to assess where the victory – only the fourth in 13 games – ranked in his tenure Clarke shrugged.
‘I haven’t even thought about it too much. I’m just going to enjoy tonight. We just do what we do, turn up and give everything for the country and try to get more points.
Scotland were left bemused after Marco Arnautovic (left) was not shown red for an assault on Billy Gilmour (second from right)
‘The atmosphere in the dressing room after was absolutely fantastic. Every player. Every player was outstanding.
‘Substitutions come on to the pitch. Paul McGinn of Hibs, Lewis Ferguson of Aberdeen, Kevin Nisbet of Hibs, Stephen O’Donnell of Motherwell.
‘It’s a good sprinkling of players playing in the SPFL as well as all the mainstays and the big names and that pleased me immensely.’
There was one scary moment for the Scots when Christophe Baumgartner escaped his marker to bullet a header at goal from a David Alaba corner 12 minutes from time.
Praising a superb save from an under-worked Craig Gordon Clarke said:
‘I think with the number of times they got the ball in the box then eventually they were going to get something on it.
Clarke also reserved praise for under-worked goalkeeper Craig Gordon for his display
‘That’s why Craig Gordon is still playing at 38. He is a top goalkeeper and made the big save when we really needed it. And we got it away so everybody played their part.’
There was also praise for the strike pairing of Dykes and Adams after pre-match concerns over the hit-rate of the front two
‘Everyone has been criticising them because they don’t score goals
‘But what they do I work their socks off for the team and defend from the front.
‘Two really good players who have made us much better in that department of the pitch and I’m delighted to have them on board.
‘They are going to pick up more caps, get more experience and they are going to get better. After that the goals will come.’
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