GLASGOW (Reuters) – Scotland manager Steve Clarke played down the impact of Billy Gilmour’s positive COVID-19 test and said the midfielder’s absence would offer somebody else the chance to become a national hero against Croatia on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old is in isolation and will sit out Scotland’s final Euro 2020 Group D match at Hampden Park, when Clarke’s side need a win to have any hope of reaching the last 16.
Gilmour was man of the match in Scotland’s last game against England on Friday, but Clarke said other players now had a chance to make a name for themselves as his side look to reach the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time.
“The only spanner that it throws in the works is that Billy would have started the game and now he won’t so it is a chance for someone else to come into the team and make themselves a national hero,” Clarke told reporters on Monday.
Scotland sit bottom of Group D on one point, below Croatia on goal difference, after opening their campaign with a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic before putting in a spirit display in a goalless draw with England at Wembley.
They have yet to find the back of the net in their two matches but Clarke hopes that with a bit of luck the goal drought will end.
“If we keep creating the chances we have created and keep having the shots at goal that we have had in previous matches then you would like to think that lady luck will be on our side and one of them will hit the back of the net,” he said, adding that Croatia remained favourites to win the game.
With both teams needing a win to have any hope of moving forward, Clarke said neither could afford to sit back and he hopes Scotland can repeat the positive performance they put in against England.
“If we reach the performance levels that we reached the other night (against England) I think we will be very competitive in the game,” he said.
“Then you need that little stroke of luck that every team needs in a big game and hopefully it is our turn to be the lucky team.”
(Reporting by Toby Davis, editing by Ed Osmond)