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Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland: Win the most important thing for Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke stressed the importance of result over performance after Scotland defeated a shadow Czech Republic side to go top of Nations League Group B2.

The Czechs assembled a whole new squad containing only two previously capped players after the original squad went into quarantine amid Covid-19 concerns.

Jakub Pesek put the hosts ahead but Lyndon Dykes levelled and Ryan Christie scored a penalty to net Scotland a win.

“Everyone said that we had to come here and win, so we did that,” said Clarke.

“It was always going to be a difficult game; Czech Republic were going to play the game of their life.

“We obviously made it more difficult for ourselves by conceding the first goal but showed good character to get in front.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Clarke added: “The first thing you start with is the Czech Republic. I’ve got to pay the coach and the players a big compliment.

“It would have been a fairytale night for them – for us, we were always on a hiding to nothing.”

Clarke continued with a 3-5-1-1 formation but made five personnel changes to the starting line-up that had drawn with Israel on Friday.

And Israel will return to Hampden on 8 October for the European Championship play-off semi-final.

“I wanted to have another look at the system,” added Clarke. “I wanted to have another look at certain players playing in the system and I’ve managed to do that.

“So we’ve had two games in the same system. I’ve got three weeks before I name the next squad. I’ll go away, I’ll have a look, I’ll analyse the games and decide what’s the best way forward for this group of players.”

‘We have relied on luck’ – analysis

Former Scotland defender Willie Miller on BBC Sportsound

If defensively, we allow the opposition to have the same number of chances, then the luck will start to run out.

It’s a result-driven business, but the amount of chances and the luck that we have had is quite incredible. Twice off the post, numerous chances in front of goal, three good saves from David Marshall and they even missed a sitter.

Yeah you take the result and move on but the bad didn’t outweigh the good tonight. Instead of ability, we’ve relied on luck to get that result.

Former Scotland manager and defender Craig Levein on BBC Sportsound

I don’t think he has to keep [Scott] McTominay at centre back. The problem is he’s played him there twice now and that would lead me to think that’s what he’s going to do for the play-off. I do feel sorry for McTominay; it takes years to develop the second sense of being able to defend properly. There are things that you need to be able to do.

We will struggle against Israel and if we are to go through and come up against Norway too. I think we need to improve on that front enormously. That might mean a change in personnel if Steve’s going to stick with this shape.

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