STEVE Clarke has appealed to Scotland supporters to be realistic about how quickly he can revive the national team’s fortunes - and revealed he has only been able to coach his players for around an hour in the build-up to the Euro 2020 qualifier with Russia here this evening.

Clarke, who took relegation-threatened Kilmarnock into Europe in the space of two seasons, admitted he has been taken aback about how little time he has had to work with his squad ahead of the Group I match in the Luzhniki Stadium.

And the former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant, whose preparations for the game in Moscow have been hampered by a catalogue of injuries and call-offs, has stressed to the Tartan Army not to expect an immediate improvement.

“The one thing I’m not getting my head around is the fact I have such limited coaching time on the pitch with the players,” said Clarke. “I am a good manager, but I think I’m a really good coach and I don’t get the time on the coaching pitch to work.

“Some of the boys played on Sunday so there was no training for them on Monday. I had a group of 15 in training and the back four were the only complete units I could work with. On Tuesday I was still missing some players. I didn’t have everybody because there were one or two knocks in the squad.

“It was probably 15 minutes coaching, pure coaching, on Monday, then 15 to 20 minutes pure coaching on Tuesday. And before we jumped on the plane to go to Moscow it was 30 walk through of set-plays and organisation. For me as a coach it’s not a helluva long time to prepare a team.”

Steven Gerrard, the Rangers manager, was critical of his Scotland counterpart when Ryan Jack, the Ibrox midfielder, suffered a knee injury after doing a double training session when he was away on international duty last month.

But Clarke, whose team can still reach the Euro 2020 finals through the play-offs in March, is conscious of not demanding too much of his charges.

“You’ve got to remember you’ve got the warm-up and the warm-down,” he said. “We don’t want to overwork the players. It makes sense this time that you can’t overwork the players. In our international schedule there is no place to do a double session before a game.”

Asked if the limited time he had on the training pitch had been a surprise, Clarke said: ‘’It probably has been. This week has been a little bit of an eye opener. I’ve had to rely on the work I’ve done before in previous camps.”

Scotland fans were hoping that Clarke could perform the same sort of miracles with the national team as he did with Kilmarnock when he replaced Alex McLeish as manager back in May.

But the 56-year-old feels international football is completely different to the club game and envisages it will take far longer to get his ideas across.

“You take over a club side and you have six or maybe eight weeks to get them ready,” he said. “That’s quite a lot of coaching hours you don’t get here.

“I’m not sitting here pleading for time in terms of my job. But over a period of time it might need ten training camps. I don’t know how many it will take before the players can start to turn up here and say ‘right, we play a certain way for our club, but when we come here with Scotland this is how we do it.

“This is only my third camp with the players. There has to be a sense of realism. If everybody is looking at me and saying, ‘he did a great job at Kilmarnock getting them coached and well drilled’ then I’d say to them it didn’t happen just like that.

“It was over a period of time that the team at Kilmarnock forged its own identity. When we were there they played a certain way and it became very successful, but it didn’t just happen suddenly. It evolved over a certain period of time and hopefully I get the time here to do the same.

“But that might take what seems like a hell of a long time. In coaching time terms it’s a relatively short space of time. You need to have a core group that understands the fact that they turn up and understand that they do one thing at their clubs and they do it this way at Scotland. The quicker I can get that across the better.”

Meanwhile, Clarke has confirmed he will seriously consider handing Steven Caulker, the former Spurs and Queens Park Rangers centre half who is now playing for Alanyaspor in Turkey, a call-up even though the defender had made one friendly appearance for England.

“I’ve lost six central defenders for this one. (David) Bates (John) Souttar, (Grant) Hanley, (Liam) Cooper, (Scott) McKenna, (Craig) Halkett,” he said. “Kieran Tierney can play centre half as well. That’s a lot of players there we haven’t got that could have been selected.

“Listen, it then becomes a great chance for Stuart Findlay and Declan Gallagher to come into the squad and show everyone what they can do. What an opportunity for those boys.”

Asked about Caulker, he said: “It’s something we’ve discussed. It’s not as simple as, ‘let’s call up Steven Caulker’ because he has played for England before and is out in Turkey and it’s not so easy just to jump on a plane and get out there and watch him or get out there and have a conversation with him.

“We are where we are as a country and if it’s a viable option and everybody wants it to happen then maybe it can happen.”