Scotland manager Steve Clarke has defended the football virus protocols after a positive case in the national team camp lead to three dropouts from this set of internationals.

Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong received a positive test prior to Thursday’s big win over Israel. It lead to Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney and Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie having to head into isolation after close contact with their teammate.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA Nations League

The Arsenal man is amongst those self-isolating. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It means that these players will now miss big games on the domestic scene, Christie unavailable for the Old Firm whilst Tierney will miss a big Arsenal match with Manchester City.

Alongside injuries to Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke, Clarke didn’t need to seek problems ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final with Israel. It didn’t stop progression though, Scotland winning 5-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

Again football’s protocols have been brought into question, especially with how long the Arsenal and Celtic men need to isolate for despite testing negative for the virus. Clarke, speaking at his press conference, says the protocols are strong as he looks ahead to tonight’s UEFA Nations League match with Slovakia.

 

“I think you are always aware of it,” Clarke said. “We’ve had first-hand experience of how difficult it can be as well as the injury issues. We lost three through that and then another three through Covid-related issues.

“But that’s going to happen to every team. You need to be ready, you need to think on your feet. Our protocols have always been top class. The doctor has been involved in the whole Covid process from the start.

“We have all tested negative which is a really good sign. You can walk out on the street and catch the cold, coronavirus is very similar, it’s the virus that’s out there. I don’t think pointing fingers at protocols is the right way to go. I haven’t spoken to the boys since they left the camp and hopefully they are fine.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Semi-Finals

Clarke has defended protocols. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“When you’re involved in football you are game to game. I know it’s an old cliché but I have to move to the next match. It’s important, Slovakia, a chance to get three points and stay top of the group.”

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