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Steve Clarke plays down missed chances as Scotland sneak a win over Moldova

Scotland v Moldova – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group F – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Steve Clarke played down Scotland’s profligacy as he described their 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Moldova at Hampden Park as a “good night” for his side.

A close-range finish after 13  minutes by striker Lyndon Dykes against the Group F minnows proved to be enough for three points but the Scots missed several chances to make the night more comfortable.

The Scots, with only two goals in the last five matches, have eight points from five games, one ahead of Austria whom they play in Vienna on Tuesday night.

Israel, who beat the Austrians 5-2, are two points ahead of Scotland with runaway group leaders Denmark on maximum 15 points.

Clarke said: “It was important to win, it was important to play on the front foot and I think we did that. It was important to get a clean sheet and we did that as well so, a good night for us.

“We had to win the game tonight otherwise Tuesday would have been probably a dead rubber so it was nice to get the three points and we look forward to a trip to Vienna and a tough game against the Austrians.

“If we don’t concede any, and we get one chance in the game and score it, that will be clinical enough. If you are not creating chances you are more worried than if you are creating chances and not scoring.

“The Ryan Christie chance at the end is a Ryan Christie goal normally but he snatched at it because it was late in the game.

“Andy Robertson snatched at one in the first half, Kieran Tierney had an unbelievable free header, put it down into the ground but didn’t quite get the right contact. Billy Gilmour had one at the near post. Lots of chances and if you create chances you always have a chance to score.

“You always need the second to stop that little nervy five minutes at the end when everyone in the stadium gets a little too nervous but if you actually watch the game there were no real chances, we defended the game, we saw the game out well.

“I made some changes later in the game to make sure we did that. We spoke about half-time about making sure it was Moldova nil and that’s what we did. And if you keep clean sheets you win games.”

Clarke praised 19-year-old Rangers right-back Nathan Patterson, starting for the first time and 20-year-old man-of-the-match midfielder Gilmour, on loan at Norwich from Chelsea, although he was keen to stress the part played by the senior players in his team.

He said: “Nathan had a really good game. I wasn’t surprised. If you watch him play for Rangers he is a good player. I knew what he would give us, he gave us good energy going forward.

“He almost got his goal in the first start which would have been great but fortunately Lyndon was on hand to knock it over the line. I think he tired in the second half but showed good maturity to sit in and play his position. He can do both sides of the game.

“It was important to get Billy on the ball. Billy dictates the tempo for us, he makes us pass, he makes us play. But don’t forget the senior players as well. It was a big effort from the team to get the result we needed.”