Steve Clarke has solved Scotland’s defensive conundrum, says former Scottish Soccer Affiliation chief Gordon Smith

Gordon Smith has hailed Steve Clarke for fixing Scotland’s Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney dilemma.

Nonetheless the previous Scottish Soccer Affiliation (SFA) chief fears the nationwide workforce boss has one other conundrum to unravel as children Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson push for a begin.

Clarke has provide you with a novel means of getting the very best out of his pair of world-class left-backs, with skipper Robertson pushed right into a wing-back function and Tierney given licence to roam ahead on the overlap from the left of a again three.


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That crafty plan has silenced those that claimed it was not possible to accommodate each of his star defenders in the identical line-up.

However Smith reckons the emergence of Chelsea teenager Gilmour and his former Rangers youth academy team-mate Patterson may depart Clarke with one other headache.

SNS - Nathan Patterson in action on his Scotland debut during a friendly match between Luxembourg and Scotland at the Stade Josy Barthel on June 06, 2021
Nathan Patterson may current Steve Clarke’s subsequent conundrum, in keeping with Smith

The pair are brief on first-team expertise however brimming with potential, and there are requires each to be fast-tracked into the beginning line-up for Monday’s Euro 2020 opener with the Czech Republic at Hampden.

That may go in opposition to the Scotland boss’ notoriously conservative instincts however Smith insists it’s time to throw warning to the wind.

SNS - Billy Gilmour in action for Scotland during a friendly match between Luxembourg and Scotland at the Stade Josy Barthel on June 06, 2021, in Luxembourg, Scotland.
Billy Gilmour is pushing to start out for Scotland on the Euros

The previous Rangers frontman mentioned: “I am actually excited. It’ll be a improbable match.

“We have a fairly tough group however because of the job Steve Clarke’s performed, I am extra assured than I have been in a very long time over the nationwide workforce.

“He is performed properly sorting that Robertson-Tierney scenario. You see Tierney overlapping Robertson from centre-back.

“I keep in mind individuals saying he ought to solely play certainly one of them however they each needed to play, even when Tierney went to right-back. You want your greatest gamers on the pitch. Tierney is excellent.

“However in case you’re getting your greatest gamers on the market, Gilmour and Patterson must be thought of too.

“Definitely, if Scott McTominay is pulled again into defence, Gilmour would go in there. He is an impressive participant.

“I first noticed him when he was aged 9 in a Rangers-Celtic youth recreation and he ran the present.

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke (left) with Billy Gilmour


Steven Naismith believes Gilmour has given Clarke a range headache heading into their Euro 2020 opener in opposition to the Czech Republic

“When he went to Chelsea I puzzled about his physicality however he appears to deal with that.

“It is a powerful one for Steve Clarke to see if he can match him in someplace. You noticed him the opposite evening when he got here on in opposition to Luxembourg that he can play at that degree.

“I assumed younger Patterson was excellent when he went on the opposite evening too.

“Steve simply has to have the idea that they’ve the standard to do their job, no matter age and expertise. OK, Patterson’s hardly had any video games, however the ones he has performed for Rangers he was excellent. He is bought the standard and he is scored in Europe.”

Scotland's confidence has soared since the side qualified for Euro 2020 - their first major tournament for 23 years


Former Scotland supervisor Craig Brown believes Clarke’s squad are able to going ‘the gap’ at Euro 2020

‘Scotland workforce a throwback to golden period’

Scotland are set to style their first chew of match motion since 1998.

However Smith reckons there’s a whiff of the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties about Clarke’s squad as he harked again to Scotland’s golden period when the nationwide workforce certified for 5 World Cups in a row with a spine made up of English-based stars.

Smith – who additionally performed for Kilmarnock and Brighton throughout his taking part in days – mentioned: “When Steve Clarke bought appointed, I assumed he was the precise man. Two years in the past, he took Kilmarnock to 3rd within the league. Now they have been relegated. There’s the distinction.

“We have two residence video games in opposition to the Czechs and Croatia – that is large. 4 of the very best third-placed groups get into the knockout stage, so there’s an actual likelihood we may get by means of.

SNS - Steve Clarke
Smith praised the job Clarke has performed in control of Scotland

“The England recreation at Wembley is an thrilling one, particularly if we win the primary recreation.

“It is a good period for us to play them as a result of we have most likely bought extra gamers taking part in for giant golf equipment on the highest degree in England than we have had for some time.

“Not so way back, Darren Fletcher was nearly the one English Premier League participant in our workforce.

“It is going again to a time when Scotland was seen as a market for English golf equipment. Many of the prime groups had Scottish gamers.

“Liverpool had Dalglish, Souness and Hansen. Man United had Albiston, McQueen and Jordan. I used to be the one Scotsman at Brighton proper sufficient!”

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