Scotland v Czech Republic: Covid protocols proven, says Steve Clarke

Scotland v Czech Republic: Covid protocols proven, says Steve Clarke

Can Scotland win again against closest group rivals Czech Republic?
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Wed, 14 Oct Kick-off:19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on Sportscene

With no further cases, Scotland’s coronavirus measures have been a success, says manager Steve Clarke.

Stuart Armstrong tested positive when the players assembled last week, while Ryan Christie and Kieran Tierney were ruled close contacts.

Wednesday’s Nations League opponents, Czech Republic, have been hit hard, with eight players in quarantine, along with boss Jaroslav Silhavy.

“I think the protocols we’ve put in place have been proven,” said Clarke.

“We had the Covid incident when we first got to the camp and since then all have tested negative.

“It means that Dr John MacLean and our head of performance Graeme Jones, who are responsible for those Covid protocols, have got it right.”

Celtic have expressed frustration, with Christie ruled out of Saturday’s Old Firm derby, along with Israel pair Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton, while striker Odsonne Edouard is reportedly returning on Friday after testing positive on Under-21 duty with France.

“I’ve got sympathy for everybody who is affected by the Covid virus, whether it is football or outside of football,” added Clarke. “We’re all doing the best we can in a difficult situation to get the season played.”

‘No reason for fans not to be optimistic’

Sunday’s 1-0 win over Slovakia kept Scotland top of Group B2, one point in front of the Czechs, and stretched Clarke’s unbeaten run to seven matches.

Following Wednesday’s match at Hampden there is a European Championship play-off final in Serbia to look forward to on 12 November.

“We’ve done well this month but we haven’t finished,” added Clarke. “We’ve got another game to go against a very good Czech Republic team.

“I know they have been affected by the Covid situation and their head coach won’t be at the game, which is a shame as that’s twice now I haven’t got to meet Jaroslav yet.

“But there’s no reason for the fans not to be optimistic and positive. We have a one-off game next month which can take us to Euro 2020.

“It (the Nations League) also throws up another chance, of a play-off route into the World Cup in 2022. If we can top the section then we will have that safety net again.

“Everyone who has played over the last two games hasn’t done their case any harm. The guys outside of the squad have three weeks to push themselves to the front of my squad as well.”

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