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Sir Kenny Dalglish: The critics should offer a meaningful solution rather than call for Steve Clarke to be sacked

© SNS GroupUkraine’s players 
celebrate their 
success with their fans.
Ukraine’s players celebrate their success with their fans.

I really felt for Steve Clarke, the Scotland players and the Tartan Army on Wednesday night.

It was a crushing defeat, a real sore one to take.

But there also needs to be a level of calmness and perspective.

In the aftermath of the Ukraine defeat, Steve has been criticised for team selection, not changing the formation quickly enough and the substitutions he made.

I don’t have a problem with people having an opinion, and a lot of things will have been voiced and written while things were still raw.

One or two have even called for Steve to be sacked.

That kind of talk is totally wide of the mark. It’s ridiculous – but it doesn’t surprise me.

Some people just want to be sensationalist, and they rarely offer any meaningful solutions.

Steve is the right man for the job, and he should be in place to lead the campaign to get us to the European Championships in 2024.

His record as Scotland manager is very good. Does anyone honestly think there is somebody out there who could do a better job than Steve?

He will have been as disappointed as anyone, and frustrated that the players didn’t reach the level of performance we all know they are capable of.

However, you have to applaud Ukraine for their performance. All things considered, they produced a wonderful 90 minutes.

They gave a really spirited display, and used the war back in their own country as a cause to produce something special.

Unfortunately for Scotland, it’s now Wales or Ukraine going to the World Cup Finals in Qatar. We’ll need to wait another four years.

That’s still painful today, but Steve and the players need to lift themselves and get on with it.

They have Nations League games to negotiate, while some players will be desperate to get on the beach and switch off. That’s only natural.

It’s been a long and testing season for many of the Scotland squad, and they deserve a rest.

But they’ll just need to wait another wee while for that as there games to play, starting on Wednesday night when Armenia come to Hampden.

There is then a game next weekend away to the Republic of Ireland, followed by the visit to Armenia.

I just wonder about players’ welfare when there are so many games. The scheduling from UEFA is shocking.

We then have a World Cup in November and December, and that is on FIFA.

Honestly, between both organisations, what are they trying to do to footballers? Do they want to run them into the ground?

They have to be very careful and more thoughtful. Surely there can be more of an understanding.

But we need to try to take as many points as we can from these games.

Remember, it was through this competition that we found a pathway to Euro 2020.

We wanted to make it to another major Finals, but it wasn’t to be. However, we can’t change what happened in the 3-1 defeat to Ukraine.

But Steve and the players can get back on a winning run, and remember how well they played in the past year when they defeated Denmark, Israel and Austria.

Andy Robertson and his international team-mates can’t feel sorry for themselves. And I know they won’t.

They will be feeling it – mentally and physically – from the midweek loss, but they’ll all find it from within to get points on the board.

Steve has a strong squad to choose from, and he has the option of making a few changes.

Some players will be fresher than others, and he will take that into account when choosing his teams.

In the past couple of years, the players have got some brilliant results and they need to get back on that run again.

It starts on Wednesday.