Steve Clarke will face a big task in Moscow when Scotland face Russia, but the Scots boss has been here before with Chelsea.
Not in terms of trying to pull off an international shock, but the stadium where the match will be played, the Luzhniki Stadium. It didn’t end well for Clarke or the Blues.
The Scotland boss is returning to the venue of the 2008 Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United, which the Red Devils won on penalties after John Terry’s infamous slip.
Clarke has reflected on that heartbreaking night in Moscow ahead of the game. He told the Herald (sport, page 4, 10/10/19): “A Champions League final is a big, big occasion. And for Chelsea at that time it was the first time, so it was a really big occasion.
“It was certainly a disappointing night, especially having come so close. It was a good game, a very competitive game. United started very well and got on top of us. They deserved to be in front. We got a little break with a fortuitous goal, a little deflection meant Frank Lampard scored.
“In the second half I thought we were the better team. Obviously we could not manage to get the winning goal and the rest is history. Unfortunately, John [Terry] slipped and hit the post with the penalty. Hopefully I come away with much happier memories this time.”
Clarke will want to make up for Chelsea heartbreak
The Scotland boss had great success at Stamford Bridge. Clarke was a part of the coaching staff that helped Chelsea win two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups in just three seasons under Jose Mourinho.
His night in Moscow ended in heartbreak though and he’ll be looking to make amends with Scotland.
It’ll be another tough task for his side. Last month, Russia eased past Scotland 2-1. It’s up to Clarke and his players to show they can live with teams like Russia on their day.
Clarke will just hope there aren’t any further unhappy memories to be created inside the Luzhniki Stadium.