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STAND AND DELIVER: CLARKE’S RALLYING CALL

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STEVE CLARKE insists his Scotland players will not shirk their responsibility in tonight’s winner-take-all confrontation with Serbia in Belgrade.

The international boss is adamant everyone is aware of the awesome challenge that lies ahead in the Euro Play-Off Final where a victory will catapult the nation into their first major finals since the World Cup in France in 1998.

The Scots are undefeated in their last eight matches and the former Kilmarnock gaffer is confident that momentum will carry them into the challenge with the Serbs.

Clarke, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “I think they’ve shown in recent matches that they’re certainly focused, they’re certainly determined to do well for their country.

“You can feel the mood in the camp this week has been good – quite boisterous, confident – which is where everybody wanted us to be.

“I think the players are grounded. There’s no point in us getting carried away with ourselves. As a nation, we’ve been here often before and never quite got over the line.

“This group of players understand what’s at stake and understand what’s needed to get the job done.

“I was still playing the last time Scotland qualified, so it’s a very, very long time ago. There is a generation that has definitely missed that atmosphere and feeling you get as a nation when you get to one of these tournaments, that proud feeling, so, hopefully, this group can deliver.”

Skipper Andy Robertson has urged his team-mates to leave the field at the Red Star stadium with nothing left to give.

The Liverpool left-back added: “We will go out there and, whether it’s 90 minutes or 120, we need to come away with no regrets. We need to walk off thinking: ‘Okay, we did our all there’.

“We believe if we do that, it will be enough. If it’s not, we’ll need to deal with that.

“It’s all been positive going into this game and we believe if we can put in the kind of performances we have done over the last couple of months, it will be good enough to win the game.”

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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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