STEVE CLARKE hopes the sight of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Hampden today will inspire Scotland – on and off the pitch.

The former Manchester United gaffer will be honoured at the national stadium before the crucial World Cup confrontation against Israel which has a 5pm kick-off.

Ferguson will receive a much-delayed cap for representing his country in the 1967 tour of Asia and Oceania.

It will be the 79-year-old Old Trafford icon’s first time back at the ground since suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2018.

And Scotland international gaffer is convinced his presence will inspire his players and fire up the Tartan Army at the 52,000 sell-out occasion.

SMART ALEX…legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be honoured at Hampden this afternoon.

Clarke said: “It will be nice for the Scottish public to see Sir Alex.

“Obviously, he has had time as a World Cup manager, in sad circumstances, when he took the team to Mexico in 1986.

“I have bumped into him already a couple of times this season. It is always nice to catch up with Sir Alex and hear his thoughts.

“It will be great for the Scottish public to give him the ovation and the acclaim he deserves.

“He is very, very supportive of the country. He is always positive. So, it’s great that he will be there to get that cap from such a long time ago.

“I’m sure he will get a fantastic ovation and it is richly deserved.”

Clarke hopes his players rise to the occasion and achieve the victory that will leave them on the brink of a play-off place for the Qatar Finals next year.

The Scots have not qualified for a World Cup extravaganza since Craig Brown led the nation to France in 1998, but last month’s 1-0 win over Austria in Vienna gave the county’s chances of a breakthrough a massive boost.

Now victories over Israel, the Faroe Islands and Moldova would guarantee that play-off place.

I’LL DRINK TO THAT…Steve Clarke is prepared for a tough encounter against Israel at Hampden.

Clarke, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “It’s good to have a full squad, especially on the back of the last camp which was probably the most disrupted camp we had with call-offs.

“It has been a pleasure this time. We have had a clear week to lead into the game. So, it’s nice to give the lads a nice recovery at the start of the week followed by three days training on the pitch.

“There has been lots of information for them and, hopefully, they take it on board and we get the result that we need.

“You always want to control your own destiny. It’s up to us to continue with that. We have put ourselves in a really good position.

“I used to say it with my club sides, if you went to a place where you weren’t expected to get a big result, get it and then don’t follow it up with the next game then it’s a result that goes to waste.

“We don’t want to waste the energy and the quality from the 1-0 victory in the last game. We have to make sure we get another positive result this time.”


About Author


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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