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Seven unbeaten and Covid-19 woes – Scotland v Czech Republic talking points

Czech Republic v Scotland – UEFA Nations League – Group 2 – League B – Andruv Stadium
(Image credit: Radek Petrasek)

Scotland take on the Czech Republic on Wednesday night in their latest Nations League fixture.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the big talking points ahead of the Hampden showdown.

Clarke playing Killie copy cat with Scotland

Steve Clarke led Kilmarnock back in Europe before leaving to take the Scotland job

Steve Clarke led Kilmarnock back in Europe before leaving to take the Scotland job (Ian Rutherford/PA)

The former Rugby Park boss was handed the national team reins on the back of the impressive job he did with Kilmarnock, which included securing the Ayrshire outfit’s best league finish in 53 years. Those achievements were build on solid foundations yet some seem surprised that under Clarke, Scotland have not adopted a gung-ho approach in the search of glory. Yes the Tartan Army would like to see their team muster more than the odd shot on goal but if this international carbon copy of Clarke’s Kilamarnock can scrap and scrape their way to Euro 2020, no one will be complaining.

Scots on a roll

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Sunday’s victory over Slovakia made it seven games unbeaten for the national team. The last time they managed eight was back in 1988 when Andy Roxburgh was in charge. Victory would not only maintain momentum ahead of next month’s play-off final with Serbia in Belgrade, but would also put Clarke’s side on the verge of topping their Nations League section and significantly boosting the odds of Scotland securing a play-off spot for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Taylor’s big chance

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With skipper Andy Robertson and Arsenal ace Kieran Tierney ahead of him in the left-back pecking order, Celtic defender Greg Taylor is accepted his opportunities for Scotland will be few and far between. But he is likely to get a chance to show what he can do with his world-class rivals ruled out. Robertson is suspended and Tierney self-isolating after coming into contact with Stuart Armstrong after a positive coronavirus test.

Czech’s coronavirus woes continue

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The Locomotive hit the buffers in Olomouc last month when they were forced to scramble together an entirely new squad to face Scotland at just 48 hours’ notice following a coronavirus outbreak. Boss Jaroslav Silhavy even had to be temporarily replaced as he was forced into self-isolation along with the rest of his team. But the former Slavia Prague coach will be absent again at Hampden after he and an unnamed player tested positive for the virus. The recent flare up has not only ruled out another eight players who have been quarantined, but domestic action in the Czech Republic has also been put on hold.