I fully understand why Steve Clarke and the Scotland squad want the Tartan Army inside Hampden for next month’s Euro 2020 Play-off semi-final against Israel.
The bottom line is that it would increase our chances of winning the game.
The way things are just now, with no supporters being allowed in, is far from ideal and is of no benefit to football, or any sport.
Of course, we need to put the health and well-being of every person before anything else.
However, if the health and science experts inform the Scottish Government that it’s safe to get a few thousand fans into the National Stadium on the night of October 8, that would be a brilliant boost to Steve, skipper Andy Robertson and the rest of the players.
Steve was right to voice his opinion after Friday night’s draw against the Israelis, and if the SFA can lobby for fans to get in, then they should.
We all know how important the semi-final is, and there is so much riding on it. Everyone should be striving to help Steve and the players as best we can.
Israel proved to be stuffy opponents the other night, and they are a threat in forward areas.
There is obvious frustration and disappointment at not getting the win, but we do all need to be mindful that this was the first game for the national team in almost a year.
Steve would only have had three or four sessions with the squad, and he had to implement a new formation in that time and play the likes of Scott McTominay in a completely new role.
The Manchester United man is normally a central midfielder, but he was asked to perform on the right hand side of a three-man central defence.
All things considered, I thought McTominay played well.
He obviously has the intelligence and discipline to take in tactical instructions, and it could become a permanent role.
Kieran Tierney played on the left-hand side of the three, and looked absolutely fine.
It’s a position he is now used to paying at club level for Arsenal, and I can see him getting better and better at it.
Dotted around the team we had the Celtic trio in Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and James Forrest.
They all know the score at this level, and their importance to the team will always be there.
Christie took his penalty very well to give Scotland the lead. It was as good a spot kick as you’ll see.
Just a pity it didn’t turn out to be the winning goal.
Ryan Jack has been brilliant for Rangers since Steven Gerard arrived, and it was good to see him play well in the holding role in the middle of the park.
When called upon, he kept things flowing and read the game well.
Up top, Lyndon Dykes made his debut, and he will be the better for it.
It puts to bed, once and for all, any uncertainty surrounding which side he wanted to play for – Australia being his other option – and he can be a vital part of the squad.
He arrived at the start of the week not being Steve’s first-choice striker, but circumstances dictated that he started the game.
Seeing commitment from any player is always a positive.
It will be disappointing for him that there was nothing really created for him during play to test Ofir Marciano in the Israel goal, but the chances will come in future games.
Dykes was involved as the likes of Oli McBurnie was injured and pulled out of the squad with a foot injury.
There was controversy surrounding it because he played 45 minutes of a pre-season friendly for Sheffield United in midweek.
I believe he was better staying with his club, and I don’t think there was anything untoward with the situation.
Indeed, if there was any foul play involved – by either Oli or Sheffield United – the SFA would have been able to report them, which could have led to sanctions.
In any case, we should be focusing on the players we have available, rather than those who are not.
There is a new coach in position, with John Carver now on board to assist Steve, and that is a really good appointment.
Steve knows John from their time at Newcastle United, and he will be invaluable to the manager as things move on.
He is a good coach, a good person and the players will enjoy working with him.
Any little extra that can be brought to the table should be applauded.
We all know the importance of the next month or two, and we need to all be pulling in the one direction.
It would be better to do so with some fans inside Hampden.
But if that can’t be the case, we just need to deal with it.
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