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Steve Clarke names the 3 Scotland youngsters he reckons will blaze a major tournament trail over the next decade


Steve Clarke has pointed to a trio of young stars he believes will blaze a trail for Scotland to make an impact at major tournaments over the next decade.

The national team boss is not a man to get easily excited but the performances of Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson against Poland on Thursday, allied to an impressive debut off the bench from Aaron Hickey, has fuelled Clarke’s belief that Scotland are going places – hopefully starting with the World Cup in Qatar.

The Scots will play Ukraine in June for the right to face Wales in the play-off final but before then Clarke’s squad heads to Vienna for Tuesday’s friendly against an Austrian side still hurting from their exit in Cardiff.

Scotland played well against the Poles are were denied victory only by a dodgy injury time penalty. Clarke liked what he saw and insists there’s plenty more to come.

He said: “It’s good having these young players. Gilmour and Nathan Patterson played on Thursday, young Aaron Hickey came off the bench as well.

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“We have a good age so this group of players can go for another two, three or four tournaments if they want.

“That is fantastic for the future.”

Patterson, who has had only 45 minutes of first team football since moving from Rangers to Everton, belied his lack of Goodison game time with a superb display.

Clarke added: “I had no worries about Nathan, none whatsoever.

“I know the level he has gone down to train in and even just training at that level, working with English Premier League players, it’s a good level.

“As long as he’s doing his work properly on the training pitch then he’ll always have enough in his legs to come and play for us.

“I saw him stretching and when he starts to stretch you don’t want to risk an injury for the boy so we took him off.

“But his performance was really good for a boy who has had so little football.

“Billy and Callum (McGregor) are two really good footballers on the ball.

“We always try to play anyway, that’s what we have always tried to do.



“But when you have two players like that in midfield you have to give them the ball otherwise there’s no point in playing them.

“Even when we made the changes later in the game we didn’t dip too much, even though that would be normal if that happened.

“It was good, I thought we picked up where we left off against the Danes and I was pleased with what I saw.

“Obviously it was disappointing at the end because we were heading for a clean sheet and win.

“That would have been seven wins in a row, which would have been better reading that six wins and a draw.

“But it was a very good performance.”

Clarke believes the Austrians will be playing for their pride on Tuesday and reckons Scotland will have to be at their best to extend their unbeaten to eight games.

He said: “Obviously we want to go to Vienna and get a positive result – then it’s the competitive games in June.

“Austria will be disappointed they’re out but any time you play for your country you want to do your best.

“They will want to get back on the pitch and try to win the game.

“Did I think Wales would beat them? I think the whole section, the whole pathway is 50-50 in every game.

“We have to get there first, we will concentrate on that and then we’ll talk about it.”

“It says a lot about the work we do when we get together, we do try to keep the same principles.

“I think that shines through when we come back together after four months and we pick it up again straight away.

“It’s good, obviously we want to go to Vienna and get a positive result – then it’s the competitive games in June.

“Austria will be disappointed they’re out but any time you play for your country you want to do your best.

“They will want to get back on the pitch and try to win the game.

“Did I think Wales would beat them? I think the whole section, the whole pathway is 50-50 in every game.

“We have to get there first, we will concentrate on that and then we’ll talk about it.”





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