Steve Clarke says Scotland need win over 'big boys' to get fans believing again
Scotland play Russia on Friday and Belgium on Monday - both games from Hampden Park are live on Sky Sports Football
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 05/09/19 5:47pm
Steve Clarke says Scotland need to defeat one of international football’s ‘big boys’ if they are to make fans believe in them again.
Clarke's Scotland side are fourth in European Championship Qualifying Group I ahead of their double-header against Russia on Friday and Belgium on Monday, having won two and lost two of their four matches to date.
Victory over Russia at Hampden Park would take them level on nine points with the 2018 World Cup hosts and quarter-finalists - albeit on a far inferior goal-difference - a result Clarke feels would help re-energise Scotland supporters.
"We need a win. As a country, it's been a long time since we turned over one of the so-called big boys," Scotland boss Clarke said ahead of Friday's game - live on Sky Sports.
"Russia, having been in the last eight of the last World Cup, are one of the big teams.
"It's about time that we as a nation, rather than being on the receiving end, are the team dishing out a result that is deemed to be an upset.
"Hopefully Friday night can be the case."
Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France and Clarke understands the correlation between that and a perceived apathy among some of the country's supporters.
Clarke added: "Over a number of years, we haven't managed to reach a major finals.
"If you don't reach a major finals, the more often it happens, the less people start to believe in it.
"One big result can maybe change the whole mindset of not just the squad but the whole nation and hopefully it happens very soon."
With Belgium top of the group with maximum points, a second-place finish may be Scotland's best chance of qualifying for Euro 2020, but Clarke was keen to stress that their focus should not just be on Friday's match.
"Rather than put the pressure on one game, I think you need to look at the next three games to make sure we are still in the group after these three games," said Clarke.
"Whether it's Friday, Monday or the away game against Russia [on October 10], we have to pick up some points and we are aware of that."