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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Steve Clarke has a lot of work to do – hopefully then we can look ahead to that game against England

© Craig Williamson / SNS GroupScotland's John McGinn (L) shakes hands with manager Steve Clarke during the UEFA European Championship Qualifier between Scotland and Kazakhstan at Hampden Park, on November 19, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Scotland's John McGinn (L) shakes hands with manager Steve Clarke during the UEFA European Championship Qualifier between Scotland and Kazakhstan at Hampden Park, on November 19, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Steve Clarke now looks totally settled in to the job of Scotland manager.

After working with the players for eight games, he has a success rate of 50%.

But you can see that his messages are now getting through and his squad are taking his instructions on board.

I’ve made my feelings on Steve very clear on this page, several times.

He is the right man to get us to the Euro 2020 Finals. But it is not going to be straightforward.

There will undoubtedly be some scary moments along the way, but we must not allow any setbacks to derail us.

If we stay calm and composed, and have the backing of the Tartan Army, collectively, it can be achieved.

The dream of a first major Finals since 1998 can become reality.

Of course, keeping the Tartan Army calm and composed isn’t exactly easy, with the prospect of a trip to Wembley to face England on the horizon.

There is no point, however, in allowing our minds to wander before anything has been achieved.

History has shown us that, more often than not, that ends in disappointment and upset.

Before we can any thoughts about the Finals, we face two enormous tasks.

Indeed, it’s going to take blood, sweat and tears to get past the
play-off games in March.

We can’t get carried away and we can’t be silly about this. We need to keep it real for the moment.

England may be lying in wait, but I don’t think any extra incentive is required to give Steve’s players the inspiration for making it to our first Finals in 22 years.

But I can’t deny that the prospect of facing our oldest rivals will provide the players with that extra 5%, should it be required.

Sure, it’s fair to say that the draw has been kind to us for the first match on March 26.

A home clash against Israel is as good as we could have expected.

We have beaten them recently, and we topped that particular Nations League section to get us into this position.

It’s a game I expect us to win.

I’m not saying it will be an easy 90 minutes, but we really should take care of that task.

Beyond that, we will be away to either Norway or Serbia, and I couldn’t pick the winner of their semi at this stage.

But there is little doubt either country will provide stiff opposition, and we are going to need to produce something special to see them off.

Ideally, we would have wanted another tie at Hampden, but it’s not to be.

We need to roll up our sleeves, be brave, and be confident.

Steve Clarke and his players will go into the Israel game with a bounce in their step. The Tartan Army will arrive at the National Stadium feeling optimistic.

We go into the game off the back of three wins on the trot and that has to breed confidence.

Yes, the opposition wasn’t of the highest quality. But it takes a lot to win any international game away from home, and the victory in Cyprus was a good one.

Ryan Christie scored a stunning goal that afternoon.

He has become a special player and can be a match-winner against any calibre of opposition.

Then at home to Kazakhstan, we had to show patience, mental strength and ability to come from a goal down to win the game.

Steven Naismith, Ryan Jack, James Forrest and John McGinn all helped to drive the team on that evening.

Steven showed he has still the ability, as well as the experience, to lead the line.

Jack played with maturity and composure in the engine room, and James just seems to get better and better with every passing game. He really comes alive on the big stage.

John McGinn, meanwhile, just improves with every game I see him in the EPL, and he has become an influential figure for Aston Villa

We do have some very talented footballers, and that makes me feel we can qualify to end our years in the international wilderness.

The we can really start to focus on June and that game against England.

Defeating them on their own patch – as I helped do in 1977 – was up there with anything I achieved in football.

I’d love Steve and his players to sample that feeling in June.