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I knew Andy Considine could cope with Scotland debut – Steve Clarke

Scotland v Slovakia – UEFA Nations League – Group 2 – League B – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Scotland manager Steve Clarke hailed the adaptability of Andy Considine after the late call-up played his part in a solid defensive display in a 1-0 Hampden win over Slovakia.

Considine was called up on Friday after Liam Cooper picked up an injury that has seen him sent home to Leeds.

The 33-year-old then became Scotland’s oldest debutant since Celtic goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson played in the famous 1967 win at Wembley weeks before winning the European Cup.

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Considine has been a consistent performer for Aberdeen for several seasons and Clarke knew he had the experience to deal with his sudden introduction to international football.

Scotland’s back three helped ensure David Marshall only had two reasonably comfortable saves to make as Clarke’s men maintained top spot in Nations League Group B2 thanks to Lyndon Dykes’ 54th-minute winner.

Clarke said: “(Scott) McTominay, who supposedly couldn’t play right-side centre-back, was excellent again.  Declan Gallagher was excellent again, and Andy Considine on his debut at 33, didn’t let himself down, he was really good.

“The good thing from my point of view and one of the reasons that Andy jumped straight in my mind for the call-up was that Aberdeen have been playing with a back three this year and Andy has been playing on the left side of it.

Steve Clarke, third right, shakes hands with Andy Considine after the game

Steve Clarke, third right, shakes hands with Andy Considine after the game (Steve Welsh/PA)

“So I knew he would slot in well because it’s difficult in international football. We played Thursday night, Friday and Saturday are really just recovery days and we did a lot of work in the meeting room and a little walk-through on possible problems and tactical issues this morning at the training ground.

“So you don’t get a lot to get to know your team-mates. He came in very late and adapted very well, but that’s experience for you. I knew he could cope.”

Scotland stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches with Clarke’s three-man central defence helping them keep a second clean sheet in three days.

Scotland grew in confidence going forward after the goal and substitute Oli McBurnie headed against the bar.

“It was a good performance from start to finish,” Clarke said. “We made the system work well against a system we hadn’t come up against before, the 4-3-3.

“It was a good solid performance defensively, we kept good control of the game.

Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring Scotland's winner

Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring Scotland’s winner (Steve Welsh/PA)

“We looked a threat going forward, which was nice to see.”

Dykes grabbed his second goal in four internationals when he slotted home Stephen O’Donnell’s cross from six yards.

Clarke said: “Lyndon leads the line well, links up well with the players round about him.

“We asked John McGinn to push forward and Ryan Fraser was really good. We gave him a little free role and it worked really well for us, it gave us more of a threat going forward.

“So Lyndon played his part but everybody that was on the pitch did well for us, even the substitutes did the jobs they were asked to do.”