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Steve Clarke names the Scotland star hes backing to down Serbia as he talks up his playoff options – Daily Record

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/steve-clarke-names-scotland-star-22995782

Steve Clarke leads Scotland to their date with destiny in Serbia nursing a hunch Oli McBurnie might join a list of national heroes by bagging the winner in Belgrade.

Clarke and his players are 90 minutes from qualifying for a major finals for the first time since France 98 – and etching their names in history.

And while the Tartan Army holds their breath and hope for a new legend to follow in the boot prints of previous prolific greats such as Joe Jordan, Kenny Dalglish and Ally McCoist boss Clarke believes McBurnie could be destined to break his
international duck in the most dramatic of
circumstances.

The £20million Sheffield United striker has yet to score for Scotland despite picking up 12 caps over the last two years.

And the big man has had his commitment to the cause questioned by fans who have accused him of putting club before country.

But Clarke has backed McBurnie throughout it all and the national boss has hinted McBurnie may yet emerge as the man of the moment in the
showdown with Serbia.

When asked if he was considering deploying Aston Villa’s John McGinn in a more advanced role to partner Lyndon Dykes in attack as a replacement for the injured Ryan Fraser, Clarke said: “There are lots of solutions.

“I’m still an Oli McBurnie fan because he’s still got a lot to offer us.

“When you look at the last two games he’s hit the frame of the goal twice and you’re always thinking in the back of your mind, ‘He’s a due a goal – there’s a goal going to come from him’.

(Image: Alan Harvey/SNS Group/SFA)

“I’ve also got Oli Burke who can give you that pace up front that Ryan Fraser gave us.

“Ryan Christie was in the team and doing well for me before when he played up beside Lyndon.

“So I’ve got many, many options. I can also tweak the system a little bit to accommodate two attacking midfield players as opposed
to one.

“John was good when he moved up there initially. Recently, even for his club side, he’s dropped back into one of the two midfield positions. So he’s shown he can play almost any position you ask him to in the midfield area which is great.”

Clarke jetted out of Edinburgh last night intending to sleep on his big-match line-up before making a final decision this morning.

He goes into the play-off showdown for a place at Euro 2020 comforted in no small part by the big-game experience of the likes of Liverpool stalwart Andy Robertson, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Arsenal’s £25m defender Kieran Tierney as well as Old Firm rivals Ryan Jack, Callum McGregor, Christie and Leigh Griffiths.

But the manager is almost certain to keep faith in international rookie Dykes who is set to lead Scotland’s attack after a blistering introduction to Clarke’s group over the last three months since completing a £2m move from Livingston to Queens Park Rangers.

(Image: SNS Group / SFA)

The manager said: “Lyndon will be fine if he is selected to start the game. He will be fine because he has a good mentality and is very confident.

“He is a confident person and I think he has adapted really well to his move to London.

“He is in a good place and has been a good player for us in recent matches so I have no worries with Lyndon on that front.

“His mentality is good and he will become a big- game player. We will see that tomorrow night.”

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