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Clarke: Scotland heading for play-offs full of optimism

Steve Clarke says Scotland are 'very optimistic' about their chances after a third win.

Steve Clarke said Scotland are heading into the Euro 2020 play-offs full of optimism after a third straight win.

The Scots made it three wins from three by coming from behind to beat Kazakhstan in their final group qualifier.

Victory ensured Clarke's side finished third in their group and left the ex-Kilmarnock boss "very optimistic" about the national team's chances of ending the nations' tournament wait.

He said: "With this group of players I can be very optimistic.

"I know they are 100 percent committed to their country and desperate to get to Euro 2020.

"We can be very optimistic."

Clarke continued: "We showed tonight we can be a good team here at home. That place will be full, get a good atmosphere and get the team playing like that, on the front foot, we can be OK.

"I've been here a few times myself when it's been like that as a supporter so it should be good.

"Listen, it's a long way away, we can enjoy the three wins in a row but we're not getting carried away, we're not thinking that we've cracked it."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1442534-second-half-fightback-earns-scotland-win-over-kazakhstan/ | default

Scotland trailed at the interval but a double from John McGinn and a Steven Naismith header saw the hosts complete the turnaround in the second half.

Clarke was buoyed by the Hampden showing by his team after the break.

He said: "The performance was really good second half, good first half but really good second half against a dangerous opponent.

"We knew Kazakhstan had a threat on the counter-attack, which they did and they hurt us.

"But it's another good result and a great reaction from the players in the second half.

"We looked a threat going forward. We created a lot of chances.

"Three wins in a row so the boys are feeling good about themselves."

"We managed to up the tempo, the goal gave us confidence.

McGinn now has seven goals in four games for his country after netting a recent hat-trick against San Marino.

Clarke added: "John is in fantastic form. He has been great for Aston Villa and is started to bring that onto the international stage.

"It's important to remember he's still in the early stages of his international career. The more you play at this level the better you become and the better the team will become.

"Steven Naismith is a great example to them all, it was great to see him get his goal too.

"He deserves it for his positivity around the place. I know I've got it around the dressing room and with the staff and I'm hoping it will spread to the supporters.

"Hopefully they have a better feeling than a couple of months ago."

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