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Kenny McLean says Scotland boss Steve Clarke will welcome selection headache

Scotland’s Kenny McLean looks forward to Euro qualifiers (Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA)
Scotland’s Kenny McLean looks forward to Euro qualifiers (Rafal Oleksiewicz/PA)

Kenny McLean believes Scotland boss Steve Clarke will be happy to have a selection dilemma for the 2024 European Championship qualification campaign when it kicks off in March.

Clarke was without almost a whole team of players and arguably six starters for Tuesday’s goalless draw against Ukraine in Krakow which clinched top spot in Nations League Group B1.

Skipper Andrew Robertson, Grant Hanley, Kieran Tierney, Nathan Patterson, Scott McKenna and Scott McTominay were among those who missed the game through injury or suspension and will be looking to reclaim their places for the start of the Euro qualifiers.

It was a successful September triple-header for the Scots, who took seven points from nine and as well as promotion to League A for the next Nations League campaign, Clarke’s side will be among the second seeds for the Euro 2024 qualifying draw, which is on Sunday week, with a play-off spot also secured.

“I am sure it is good for the manager,” Norwich City midfielder McLean told PA news agency.

“We had a lot of call-offs and lads came in and played their part, doing a job and putting themselves in the frame for going forward.

“It is exciting to be involved in this. Everybody wants to be involved but not everyone can be.

“So it is up to everyone to go back to their clubs do what they can and stay fit.

“We got the job done on Tuesday. We knew the point was enough but we didn’t want to sit on it. But it is hard to keep on the front foot when you know the result you have got is enough.

“On the other hand, you don’t want to drop too deep and invite too much pressure but I think we did the job excellently, we defended well and all in all, it was a successful night.

“It has been a very successful camp and the confidence is back.”

It was the third game against Ukraine this year and the mood around Scotland has changed since June’s 3-1 defeat in the World Cup play-off semi-final at Hampden Park.

Scotland then lost 3-0 to Republic of Ireland in the Nations League in Dublin, in between two expected wins over Armenia.

The former Aberdeen and St Mirren player admits failure to qualify for Qatar was painful.

McLean said: “It was tough to take, the performances weren’t there. It was a long hard season for boys. I think you could see that it caught up with a lot of us, performances were a wee bit flat.

“We spoke at the start of this camp,  saying let’s re-set, get back to doing what we are good at doing, with the hard work and togetherness.

“We changed formation a wee bit,  there was change in personnel and you have to adapt. I think to a man we did excellently over the three games and we got the results we needed.”