Steve Clarke appeals to UEFA after Scotland were hit by other calls in preparation for Qatar 2022 qualifier



STEVE Clarke last night called on UEFA to postpone international matches into the future after Scotland’s preparations for their Qatar 2022 qualifying fixture against Denmark were hit by fresh appeals.

Right-back Stephen O’Donnell and striker Kevin Nisbet were both excluded from the Group F game at Parken Stadum in Copenhagen this evening.

The Motherwell O’Donnell player suffers from coronavirus and is not allowed to enter Denmark due to his strict travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, Hibernian striker Nisbet suffered a minor injury in training and is expected to be available for the game against Moldova on Saturday.

However, Clarke has been unable to recruit late replacements due to UEFA Covid-19 testing requirements and his original 26-man squad has been reduced to 19.

Additionally, Celtic’s Ryan Christie and Ostend’s Jack Hendry were offered before the summer transfer window closed last night and have joined Bournemouth and Club Brugge respectively.

The national manager has urged the European football governing body to consider when they schedule international matches in the future.

“It was definitely the most disturbing week before entering a camp,” he said. “I don’t want to sound like a moaning Minnie, but I think UEFA needs to take a little look at it and see if we can separate the international window from the end of the European or World transfer window. us a little more time if they want to play games.

“One of the biggest issues in terms of getting players and substitutions into the squad was the delay between the squad meeting on Sunday night and the game on Wednesday.

“If the game had taken place on Thursday, those extra 24 hours are absolutely invaluable in readjusting your team a bit. There is therefore a little help that could be provided by the authorities in terms of programming.

Clarke is confident that neither Christie nor Hendry, both of whom could start for Scotland against Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark, will be affected by the uncertainty over their future.

“It’s in the background,” he says. “But for someone like Jack, it was positive, so he’s not going to be depressed about it. He’ll be excited and overjoyed if a move happens and he’ll come back in a more positive frame of mind.

“But I think the folks planning the matches need to think a bit about the transfer window deadline and try to separate it a bit from the internationals, especially when it comes to the Covid issues, then you get your problems normal injuries. We were touched by all three on entering this camp.

Clarke no longer has a specialist right-back in his Scottish side as Rangers defender Nathan Patterson is currently self-isolating and will not join the national team until Thursday.

But he’s confident the national team can cope with O’Donnell and Patterson’s absence and get a result in Copenhagen.

“I have Ryan Fraser,” he said. “He has played several times at his club’s right-back, mainly from Bournemouth. He has already played for me against the Faroe Islands. He scored a back-post header, so I have options.

“Kieran Tierney has played on the right before. It would be a more urgent measure, so I have a few options. Whether I’m going with the five or the four, I’m probably going to sleep on that one.


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