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Clarke ‘kicks backsides’ in attempt to spark life into Scotland

The Scots were humbled by Germany and must look to bounce back against Switzerland on Wednesday

Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke has spent the past few days “kicking a couple of backsides and giving a couple of cuddles” as Scotland attempt to move on from their opening-night mauling by Germany at Euro 2024.

The Scots were swept aside 5-1 on Friday as the tournament hosts dished out a harsh lesson to Clarke’s men in Munich.

Given their goal difference, Scotland most likely need to pick up at least four points from their next two games, the next of which comes on Wednesday against a Switzerland side that opened with a 3-1 defeat of Hungary yesterday.

Reflecting on the Germany game, Clarke told a news conference today: “They understand they have let everybody down, they are disappointed, but they know they have to be ready for the next game – that’s the nature of being involved in football.

“It was a disappointing night. We got a lot of things wrong and we’ve got to put it right in the next game.

“If I could criticise myself, and I always criticise myself, I start with myself, I maybe gave too much information, which maybe clouded the players a bit on the pitch in terms of what we do with the ball and what we do without the ball.

“So we can work on that and we have worked on that a bit this morning. We’ll work on it in the next two days.”

Asked what he has done to rally the troops since Friday, he added: “Kicking a couple of backsides, giving a couple of cuddles, getting them together as a group and making them understand why we had that performance on Friday night and making sure we don’t have that performance again.”

It would be easy for the Scotland players to lose confidence in what they are trying to achieve but Clarke says morale remains high.

“We believe in ourselves. There’s no danger of that,” he said.

“We know it was a bad night. We have to accept all the criticism that comes our way and then we have to put it right.

“To be in football, you have to be very resilient.”

What’s Clarke’s view of Switzerland?

The Swiss present another stern challenge for Scotland with Murat Yakin’s men possessing plenty of tournament experience.

Clarke added: “If you go back to the qualifying campaign, it was a bit of a struggle for the Swiss. They probably didn’t play as well as they can.

“People always look at the Swiss and think they are a smaller footballing nation, but they are always there at the major tournaments.

“So when it comes to tournament football, a little like Germany, they were on it – the same with the Swiss team.

“They know how to survive in tournaments and they are a nation we have to learn from.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.