Steve Clarke: I will feel the weight of expectation on Thursday with Scotland

Manager Steve Clarke admits that he will feel the weight of expectation on his shoulders on Thursday night when he leads Scotland into battle against Serbia.

Steve Clarke leads Scotland into battle against Serbia on Thursday.
Steve Clarke leads Scotland into battle against Serbia on Thursday.

The Scots are just one match away from a first appearance at a major tournament in 22 years when they face the Serbians in Belgrade in a Euro 2020 play-off final.

Clarke knows that the whole nation will be watching on praying for a victory, particularly given the current coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, the 57-year-old – who was capped six times for Scotland – feels he is prepared for the challenge.

“I've never been in this position before as national team manager of my country,” said Clarke. “So come game time on Thursday I will feel the weight of the expectation.

“But with the experience I've got and the games I've been involved in during my career as a player, coach and manager – and there's been a lot of big ones – I'm sure I'll handle the pressure.

“If I concentrate on my job and make sure the players are properly prepared, ready for the match, everything else takes care of itself.

“It's a bit of a myth that there's apathy around the Scotland team. Because when it comes to the big games, the Tartan Army are there.

“They want to be part of it and want the team to be successful.

“This group of players are no different to the Tartan Army or the people of Scotland. We want to give the country a lift.

“But it's a football match and in this particular one, you can only win or lose. There is no draw."