Clarke: Scotland resilience bodes well for the future
The Scotland boss said his players deserve credit for keeping their group hopes alive.
Steve Clarke believes the "resilience" shown by his Scotland players in their 2-1 win over Cyprus offers encouragement about what the team can achieve in the future.
The national team were ahead thanks to a stunning Andy Robertson goal until the final few minutes when Cyprus stunned them with a late equaliser from a corner and it looked like a much-needed win was going to slip through the side's fingers.
Scotland's response was to dig deep and Oliver Burke sealed a win with his first international goal.
"I'm pleased for the players," Clarke said. "I thought the way they have worked this week going into the game that we would be good enough to win the game.
"We certainly put ourselves in a position to win the game with a great strike from Andy Robertson. From there I thought we had really good control of the game. I couldn't see Cyprus scoring from open play.
"But unfortunately we switched off from a set-play and got severely punished for it.
"After that, the character of the players to come back and the resilience (shone through). It would have been easy for them to feel sorry for themselves but they didn't and I think that bodes well for the future."
'It was a game that came with a lot of pressure. We didn't speak about it much beforehand but we knew if we didn't take maximum points the group was almost beyond us.'Steve Clarke
The win puts Scotland level on points with second-placed Russia in the Euro 2020 qualifying group and Clarke admitted that although he hadn't talked about it much before the game, anything other than a win would have been a crushing blow to hopes of qualifying.
"It's difficult for me to be too critical of the players," he said. "They gave us three points, they couldn't have done any more.
"It was a game that came with a lot of pressure. We didn't speak about it much beforehand but we knew if we didn't take maximum points the group was almost beyond us.
"So I think we should credit the players and maybe not look too much at one or two little mistakes that we can improve on."
The manager also shared his feelings on walking out at Hampden for the first time as Scotland boss.
"I loved it," Clarke said. "I loved the pre-match, I loved the national anthem.
"I liked the Tartan Army, I thought they got right behind the team and I'm glad we could send them home with a smile on their face."