Steve Clarke stresses importance of Turkey game and relishes ‘good percentage of available players’

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke is happy to have the chance to continue his work in September after a strong squad made the trip to Turkey.

Scotland coach Steve Clarke and his players are in Diyarbakir to face <a class=Turkey.” src=”” srcset=” 320w, 640w, 990w” data-hero=”” fetchpriority=”high”/>
Scotland coach Steve Clarke and his players are in Diyarbakir to face Turkey.

Clarke lost Che Adams, Kenny McLean and Nathan Patterson from his original squad for Wednesday’s friendly in Diyarbakir. He was also denied the chance to call up Celtic players such as David Turnbull, Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston, who are with their club in Australia, while Hoops skipper Callum McGregor was injured anyway.

Brentford full-back Aaron Hickey was unavailable for selection through injury but Clarke otherwise has the party that helped Scotland promote to the UEFA Nations League with wins against Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland last month.

The Scottish boss was also able to welcome back captain Andy Robertson, defender Grant Hanley and midfielder Ryan Jack through injury as he eyes a European Championship qualifying group which also includes Spain , Norway, Georgia and Cyprus.

Clarke said: “If you’re involved in football you understand that you have to move on. It was disappointing for us not to go to the World Cup. I’m sure it was disappointing for Turkey. not to go to the World Cup. But you have to expect the next challenge, which is the qualification for Germany in 2024.

“It was important to put a game in the November window because going from September to March is too long without seeing the players. We managed to get a good percentage of the players with us who were with us in September , even though it’s not an official FIFA window. It was important. We can talk about what we did. We already touched on what we did in the last camp in September and we are looking to improve that.

Robertson, whose Liverpool team-mate Calvin Ramsay could make his debut, is sure the game will be a worthwhile exercise. “Both teams wanted to go to the World Cup and they will be disappointed too, but it’s a good friendly game for both of us,” the left-back said in a pre-match press conference. We will both be competitive and we will both try to get what we need to prepare for the Euro campaign. That’s what we’re working towards, March, when the real stuff starts. We want to go to another major tournament, of course we want to, and Turkey will have the same goal. It will be an interesting test, a good test for us.

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