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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Steve and Tuchel will keep Billy’s feet on the ground, just as Big Jock did with me

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There has been plenty of reflection and self-analysis from Steve Clarke in the past few days.

That will continue right up until September when the World Cup qualifiers get underway again.

I know Steve well, and the disappointment of going out of Euro 2020 at the group stages will have hurt him.

Indeed, five days later, it will still be raw.

We got off to a bad start with the home defeat to Czech Republic, and we were chasing ever since the final whistle that afternoon at Hampden Park.

We should not forget the outstanding performance against England, but when we needed to beat Croatia at Hampden to go through, the better team won.

For all Scots, that’s not easy to take.

But sometimes there is nothing you can do about it when another team has better players, and is more clinical in front of goal.

There is no disgrace in that, and there are many positives to take from the tournament.

Young Billy Gilmour set the game alight against England, and it was a crushing blow that he missed the Croatia game due to Covid.

But seeing him in full flow at Wembley was a sight for sore eyes, and his emergence is a massive positive.

He is now the name on everyone’s lips, and it’s important that he manages himself appropriately and doesn’t change.

Clearly, he has a wise head on young shoulders.

My advice to him would be to just continue what he’s been doing for the past couple of years. It’s worked well for him, and there is no need to change.

Don’t try to become someone else. Continue to let your football do the talking, and always regard playing for Scotland as an absolute honour.

There will be plenty of media coverage on Billy for a long time to come, and he will be under close scrutiny on the various social media platforms.

The praise can very quickly turn to criticism, so he needs to be ready for any negative scenarios.

But as long as he keeps working hard, keeps making sacrifices, keeps listening to those he trusts and never takes football for granted, then he will be absolutely fine because his natural talent is not in doubt.

He has an excellent manager at Chelsea in Thomas Tuchel, and that will be beneficial every day at club level.

When I was coming through at Celtic, getting regular games in the first-team and then breaking into the Scotland squad, I had Jock Stein there every day, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better.

Big Jock was brilliant at keeping your feet on the ground.

He never let any player get carried away and, indeed, if anyone showed the slightest bit of that, then Jock would knock you right down.

And not necessarily in a too polite way, either!

Jock took Scotland to the 1982 World Cup Finals, and I hope Steve can emulate that in the next 18 months.

He knows the game inside out, but he will still have learned lots about his players, his staff and himself in the past three or four weeks.

Steve will be a better manager for the experience, and his overall knowledge on a variety of things will have improved.

He is the man to lead us to the next World Cup, of that I am sure.

In the past eight months, Steve has helped to light up our nation, and the way we all came together in the past month has been a joy to behold.

Hopefully, we have also inspired a new generation of kids to take up football and aspire to be the next Robertson, McGinn, Gilmour, Tierney, Patterson or Marshall.

The Scotland fans weren’t critical of the team, and they knew that Andy Robertson and the rest of the squad gave their all throughout the tournament.

Knowing that the Tartan Army are proud of them, and philosophical about being eliminated early again, will be a great comfort blanket to the manager and the players.

They appreciated the fact that we qualified, and that could have been seen as job done.

Yet had the players given the impression that they weren’t bothered about losing to Croatia, and just shrugged their shoulders, the fans would have let them know all about it, and rightly so.

We must never tolerate players not caring about losing games. They must always show passion and proper application. That’s the very least we must always expect.

So the Scotland players know they have the fans on their side, and that will be of great benefit in September when we play Denmark, Moldova and Austria in the bid to qualify for the World Cup Finals in Qatar next year.

The next round of games are absolutely crucial, and we need to take as many points as we can to build on the five points from the opening three fixtures back in March.

Football can bring so much pleasure to so many, whether you are a player or a supporter, and we must never lose sight of that.

We waited 23 years to be back involved in a major tournament and, as Steve said, we will not wait as long to get to another.

The hard work has already started to get to Qatar, and we need to keep it going.

If we are all united, it will give us a much better chance of being successful.