Steve Clarke says Scotland will miss their faithful backing against Israel tonight.

The national team return to Hampden this evening for their first international match in just under 10 months during Nations League competition. They face an Israel team who they will meet again next month as Scotland bid for their first major tournament entry since 1998.

Steve Clarke returns to the dugout tomorrow. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’ll be without fans in the ground, however, as supporters remain locked out of grounds under new COVID-19 protocols. It’s something the majority of the squad have had to get used to as football continues during the pandemic.

With the Tartan Army integral to the atmosphere inside the national stadium, Clarke, speaking at his press conference, knows they’ll be a big miss: “Obviously we are going to miss the Tartan Army, we are going to miss the crowd being in.

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“Football is a spectator sport and without the crowd it is a different game. The good thing for me is that all the players have already experienced the situation. It is only myself and the coaching staff that it will be a little bit different for.

It’ll be an empty Hampden tonight as QPR man Lyndon Dykes could make his debut. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

“We might be able to get more information on top of the pitch but it is certainly going to be different. Football without a crowd is not really the spectacle that we want it to be and the quicker the crowds are in the better, but obviously it has to be safe for that to happen.

“The players will be motivated to play for their country. If you watch the high-level players play in the Europa League and Champions League in the knockout system, those top players, even without a crowd, will produce high quality.”

Meanwhile, Clarke has also provided an update on how Lyndon Dykes has looked in training this week. The striker is in line to make his national debut after his switch from QPR to Livingston last month.

“He’s trained well,” said Clarke. “It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Lyndon, his head’s all over the place a little bit, trying to organise moving to London with his family and getting called up for Scotland. We’re looking after him.”

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