Steve Clarke claims Scotland are “not lacking in problems” ahead of Tuesday night’s thrilling Nations League game against Ukraine in Kraków.
Skipper Andrew Robertson was already injured ahead of September’s triple-header and fellow defenders Nathan Patterson, Kieran Tierney and Scott McKenna are also absent for the final with midfielder Scott McTominay suspended.
A virus in the camp has also stricken strikers Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams, although the latter attended a media conference and said he was feeling “great” ahead of a game in which B1 leaders Scotland were defeated after home wins against Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland just need one point to win the group and get promoted to league A.
“We’ve got some kind of virus in camp, just sickness,” said Clarke, who confirmed right-back Aaron Hickey, who was sent off with a punch on Saturday, had been training with the squad.
“Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams weren’t feeling very well this morning, but they’ll be on the plane.
“So that’s what we have to worry about, so we’re not lacking in issues nor are we lacking in determination to go there and finish the job.”
Calling Hearts duo Barrie McKay and Stephen Kingsley on Sunday, Clarke was disappointed to lose Tierney and McKenna but insists the squad can be “adaptable”.
“They don’t want to lose anyone from the squad,” said Clarke, who explained he “trusted” McKay and Kingsley.
“Kieran and Scott are two good players doing their best. Injuries are sent to test you, it’s a chance for someone else now.
“Like I said, we have a disease virus in the camp, maybe tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and have other problems, I don’t know.
“But deal with it. You will always be asked questions, you will always be tested, but I am sure we will do enough to pass the test.”
Clarke has picking dilemmas all over the field but insists he has plenty of cover.
Of Hickey he said: “Aaron felt a little bit tight in the game and I knew I had Tony Ralston on the bench who could do a good job for us.
“Aaron trained this morning, he seems fine so I have a good choice between Tony and Aaron.”
Scotland will not take part in the draw
Clarke managed Greg Taylor at Kilmarnock and was pleased with the way he took over from Tierney in the first half in the 2-1 win over the Irish but insists the Celtic left-back has competition for his place himself.
He said: “Greg’s determination to do well was clear to me as soon as I walked in the door at Kilmarnock. I know he wants to get better.
“He’s moved to a bigger club, he’s coped with the expectation and the pressure of playing at that bigger club, every time I’ve asked him to play for the national team he’s done very well.
Group B1: Remaining fixtures
- Republic of Ireland vs Armenia – Dublin, Tuesday 27 September
- Ukraine vs Scotland – Kraków (Poland), Tuesday 27 September
“So don’t worry about Greg and you want that all over the place. Young Josh Doig has come in and has been training very well, looking good, Stephen Kingsley has filled that position too, Kenny McLean has played there for Norwich three or four times this season so we’re covered well.
“It’s about coping with what fate has thrown at us and being determined to get the job done.”
Clarke stressed whoever wins the bid on Tuesday night, Scotland will not take part in the draw.
He said: “I don’t think anyone goes and settles for a draw, you’re always set to win the game. We certainly won’t go there to get a draw because if you don’t live up to expectations you lose game.”
Adams: Scotland are about to meet Ukraine
Che Adams believes Scotland are in great shape ahead of the final game of their Ukraine trilogy in Kraków on Tuesday night.
Adams, who will shrug off a virus that has infected the camp, is confident of a positive result.
He said: “We’ve had two good games this season, we just need to finish them well and get over the line in the summer, we really let them off the hook. We made amends the other day in the game Home.
“It wasn’t good enough over the summer and it was up to us to make it right at Hampden and we certainly did.
“It’s going to be another tough game but one we’re looking forward to. The lads are excited and hopefully we’ll make it across the finish line.”
Clarke revealed Adams and fellow striker Lyndon Dykes had been hit by a virus, although both would be on the plane to Poland.
The Southampton striker said: “I’m feeling great, feeling better. It’s one of those where we have to get through and put in a massive performance tomorrow.
“I’m strong, I can play. If it were worse I might not be able to, but I’m fit and ready for tomorrow.”
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