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Steve Clarke says Scotland have come a long way – and can get even better

Austria v Scotland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group F – Ernst Happel Stadium
(Image credit: Florian Schrotter)

Steve Clarke believes Scotland’s hard-fought 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Austria on Tuesday was another indication of his side’s improvement.

Striker Lyndon Dykes scored a VAR-awarded penalty in the 29th minute in Vienna as the Scots moved into second place in Group F behind runaway group leaders Denmark.

Scotland have 11 points from six games, one more than Israel, who lost 5-0 against the Danes in Copenhagen and visit Hampden Park next month for what is sure to be a sell-out.

Lyndon Dykes scores Scotland's winner

Lyndon Dykes scores Scotland’s winner (Florian Schrotter/PA)

After the visit of Israel, the Scots are away to the Faroe Islands and Moldova before finishing the campaign with a home game against Denmark and second place and a play-off spot is now, on the face of it, within grasp.

Boss Clarke said: “Every player was outstanding.

“We have come a long way. I think we can get better, I think we will get better and last night is another step on that road.

“It was no surprise to me.

Austria v Scotland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group F – Ernst Happel Stadium

Stephen O’Donnell wins the ball (Florian Schrotter/PA)

“They are a really good group of players who want to be successful for their country and they showed that. So it was good.

“It just means (Israel) is another cup final. You have to keep picking up points.

“It was an important night for us to get something from the game.

“We managed to come here and put in a good performance, a good footballing performance when we got the ball down we passed it well.

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“We are not a long ball team as some people try to label us.

“We can play. If we have to go long we can play and fight for it.

“If we have to make the passes we make the passes.

“We deserve a little bit more respect.”