Cyprus v Scotland: Stability takes Steve’s Clarke’s team to brink of Euro 2024

7 September 2023 0 By Total Football News
John McGinn opens the scoring in a 3-0 home win over Cyprus in MarchScotland opened their Group A campaign with a 3-0 home win over Cyprus in March
Venue: AEK Arena, Larnaca Date: Friday, 8 September Time: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Follow live on the BBC Sport website & app, listen on BBC Sounds & watch highlights on BBC Scotland

Continuity and confidence are key factors for Scotland as they aim to take a significant step towards Euro 2024 qualification, said Steve Clarke.

"The squad is pretty settled," said Clarke.

"It's something we've tried to do for a number of camps now and I think the run of results we've had is a consequence of that stability."

Scotland have won their last 10 group-stage qualification matches, stretching back to September 2021.

Head coach Clarke added: "The players are in a good place. Maximum points, you can't do much better than that.

"Some of the performances, or moments in games, we can improve on. We don't think for a minute that we're the finished article.

"When we qualified for Euro 2020, I said we'd improve and we've done that - and there's more improvement in the squad to come.

"I just want to help these guys be as good as they can be."

Cyprus are yet to pick up a point from three group matches and have lost in all eight meetings with Scotland over the years.

The last of those came in March in Glasgow, with Scott McTominay netting two late goals in a 3-0 win for Clarke's side.

"Always respect the opponent," said Clarke. "We expect a tough game.

"Those two late goals at Hampden probably put a little gloss on the scoreline.

"Conditions will be hot, but it was pretty hot in Norway when we went there in June. You just have to deal with the conditions whatever they are and get the result you want."

Although Scotland have an official allocation of 3,728 for the 8,058-capacity stadium in Larnaca, around 6,000 of their fans have travelled.

"A good support always helps," added Clarke with a smile. "They are always vocal and, if they continue that, great."

Team news

Scotland are without Elliot Anderson as the Newcastle United midfielder picked up a knock in training after his first senior international call-up.

Asked if he had sought any assurances from England-born Anderson over his future, Clarke said: "No. He just went home. It is not something I can control."

Rangers' Robby McCrorie was a late replacement for Liam Kelly among the back-up goalkeepers to first-choice Angus Gunn.

Lyndon Dykes remains with the squad and has "trained well", according to Clarke, although the striker has missed the last three games for QPR with a knee issue.

Experienced centre-halves Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper are missing through injury, but Scott McKenna is fit for the first time in this campaign.