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CLARKE EYES WONDERKID

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SCOTLAND boss Steve Clarke checked out Chelsea wonderkid Billy Gilmour in the London side’s 2-0 English FA Cup win over Liverpool last night.

And the international gaffer saw the former Rangers prospect turn in a Man-of-the-Match performance against the runaway Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge.

Clarke may now fast-track the midfielder into his squad for the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel at Hampden a fortnight tomorrow.

The national chief scrapped plans to attend yesterday’s Nations League draw in Amsterdam after being told Gilmour would be starting against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Earlier in the day, Scotland were paired with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Israel for the 2020/21 Nations League.

Clarke, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It’s an interesting draw, but the most important thing is that we focus fully on the play-off semi-final against Israel this month.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see that the play-off match is on course for a sell-out. I am sure that the fans have recognised the value of the Nations League competition and their support is invaluable to the team.

“We are looking forward to the Nations League kicking off again this autumn, the competition has already proven its value to us, providing a further opportunity to qualify for Euro 2020.

The 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin in March 2021, with the 10 group winners reaching the finals in Qatar.

The 10 runners-up, plus the two best ranked Nations League teams that have not already qualified, will contest the play-offs in March 2022.

Fixtures for 2020-21 Nations League will be played home and away between September and November.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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