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Steve Clarke blow as Kevin Nisbet and Stephen O’Donnell miss Scotland qualifier

Steve Clarke File Photo
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Scotland boss Steve Clarke was dealt another blow with the news that Kevin Nisbet and Stephen O’Donnell will miss the World Cup qualifier in Denmark on Wednesday night.

Clarke’s squad had already been hit by call-offs  with the likes of James Forrest, Greg Taylor, John McGinn and Nathan Patterson missing for various reasons.

Now Hibs striker Nisbet has picked up a knock and Motherwell defender O’Donnell, who had recovered from Covid-19, has been told he cannot access Denmark due to the country’s coronavirus protocols.

Clarke said: “We have one or two issues again in terms of Kevin Nisbet picked up a knock in training so he is out for this game, he should be hopefully available for the weekend.

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Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet misses Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Denmark after picking up a knock.

“I am also looking to bring another forward player into the squad after this game.

“And we have a little issue with Stephen O’Donnell getting access to Denmark which is a little bit of a curve ball, which has caught us out a little bit.

“It is just the way it is, different countries have different rules.

“The medical staff have been trying to find ways round it but we haven’t managed to solve that particular problem.

“I started with a squad of 26 and we will travel to Denmark with 18.

“Another issue is Jack Hendry, who played in Belgium at nine o’clock on Sunday night and rather than fly him back here for his Covid test at 9am on Monday, the UEFA deadline, we Covid tested him in Belgium. He is okay and he will go direct to Denmark and meet up with the squad there.”

After the Denmark game, Scotland host Moldova at Hampden and then travel to face Austria.

Clarke was keen to put the Covid side of his squad’s problems into context.

The former West Brom and Kilmarnock  boss said: “We will go with what we have and I will reiterate what my captain Andy Robertson has just said, we will have a strong team on the pitch and we have a good bench.

“We don’t have a full bench but we have more than enough to go there and be competitive in the game and get the result that we want and that’s the most important thing.

“Also, on the back of all the Covid issues, it is worth point out that it is a global pandemic. Other countries and teams have suffered from it.

“It’s our turn this time but in the scheme of things, football is a relatively minor issue and not having players is a relatively minor issue because you have people who are dying of the illness, people on ventilators, people stuck in hospital, people with long Covid of which my daughter is one, so I understand it.

“So we have to put it into perspective. It is football and we will deal with it.”