Steve Clarke never lost faith that the goal would come from Scotland despite missed opportunities

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Steve Clarke insists he “expected” Scotland to get the breakthrough as they missed chance after chance before finally beating Ukraine 3-0 at Hampden Park.

After a scoreless first half in the Nations League Group B1 game, striker Che Adams and midfielder Stuart Armstrong missed good opportunities to put the Scots ahead and there was some frustration in the stands.

However, in the 70th minute skipper John McGinn fired into a drive before substitute Lyndon Dykes headed in twice from the corners of fellow substitute Ryan Fraser.

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Lyndon Dykes came off the bench and scored twice (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

Scotland are two points clear of the visitors at the top of the rankings for the Republic of Ireland’s visit on Saturday, which takes place before the final game against Ukraine in Poland next week.

About the missed opportunities, Clarke said: “When you stand on the sidelines and watch and your team creates opportunities, you know your team has good forward momentum, then you just wait.

“You kind of expect one of them to go in because you create so many good chances that you believe in your players and trust them to score the goal and that’s what happened.

“It was a good performance and we are very happy with it. Congratulations to the players, we give them a lot of information in a short time, most of it is boring.

John McGinn made the breakthrough (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

“Walking on the field, meeting in the conference room, but we picked it up, well executed what we wanted to do.

“It was a good game. We came on top of the second half and the first goal would always be crucial.

“Now we have to leave and reset and get ready to leave again on Saturday.

“We are resting and recovering and getting ready for a tough game against Ireland on Saturday.

“Of course we went out in the summer and we didn’t do ourselves justice (0-3 defeat) and we want to do ourselves justice on Saturday.”

Nathan Patterson left the match on a stretcher (Steve Welsh/PA)

(PA wire)

Clarke admitted the injury to Everton right-back Nathan Patterson – who saw him taken off on a stretcher – “doesn’t look good”, before adding: “Fingers crossed, it’s not too bad.”

The Scotland boss was delighted with Dykes and Fraser’s reaction, after admitting neither of them were the best looking forward to starting on the bench.

He said: “It was nice for the two substitutes Ryan and Lyndon to come off the bench and improve the score.

“It’s a credit to the players. I would say they both probably had the hump with the head coach of not starting the game, but that’s what you want, you want a hungry group.”

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