Steve Clarke criticism baffles John Carver as assistant says good times are coming back for Scotland

JOHN CARVER says he is baffled by criticism of Steve Clarke, and believes that the Tartan Army packing out Hampden for the Israel game on Saturday evening is proof that Scotland are on the right track.

Clarke came in for scrutiny – particularly from the media, in Carver’s view – following the 2-0 defeat to Denmark last month on a torrid night in Copenhagen, a loss that left the Scots with a record of just one win in nine competitive matches.

Clarke and his team then pulled off a hugely impressive victory against Austria in Vienna though to put them in pole position to secure second place in their World Cup qualifying group, and Scotland assistant Carver says that the national team manager has nothing to prove.

“I find it hard to understand how people can criticise him and I’ve been in this game a long, long time,” Carver said.

“I’ve seen the work he’s done, I’ve seen the work other managers have done, and I’m a little bit disappointed when I do hear that criticism. I don’t read it. I don’t watch it on TV. But people tell me about it and I’m quite surprised to be honest.

“We’ve got to one major tournament after so many years and we’re on the verge of giving ourselves another opportunity. And let’s face it, when the draw came out and you saw Denmark, Austria and to a lesser extent Israel you’re thinking to yourself, ‘If we can get second place that would be remarkable,’.

“But we’re now in the position where it’s in our hands and we have that opportunity which is why I find the criticism a little bit strange.

“We are going into a situation now where we are playing against Israel on Saturday and we’ve got a full house. We haven’t had a full house for a long time. That is a sign of what Steve has done and what the fans want to see.

“If you give them a product, they will follow you all over the world. I’ve seen that when I was growing up as a kid.

“The Tartan Army went everywhere in the world, wherever they were playing they were there in their numbers, in their droves. I sense that this could be a time when that could be coming back again.

“It would be great if it did happen.”

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