THE remarkable situation the Czech Republic find themselves in ahead of tonight’s Nations League encounter with Scotland is a symbol of the kind of mayhem this Covid-19 crisis is still capable of wreaking on our game even at the highest level.

After announcing immediately after their 3-1 victory over neighbours Slovakia in Bratislava on Friday night that they would not be participating in the match with Steve Clarke’s side, the Czechs have since changed tack after UEFA insisted the match was still scheduled to take place.

It came after two Czech players were told to self-isolate following contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for Covid-19. But with Scotland set to travel to Olomouc yesterday, their opponents were forced into making a sharp U-turn and accepting that the game would go ahead – albeit with a markedly different squad to the one which beat Slovakia.

Undoubtedly, this has given the Scots a boost to their chances of winning League B, Group 2 after their disappointing 1-1 home draw with Israel on Friday night.

After Ryan Christie’s penalty had put the hosts ahead at Hampden, a lacklustre second-half saw Scotland lucky to escape with a point after Eran Zahavi’s strike levelled matters.

Based on that display, there are no guarantees Scotland’s advantage in terms of team selection will equate to a win on the board for Clarke’s side tonight. And the bizarre circumstances surrounding tonights game prompt questions around strength in depth at international level.

Of the line-up which struggled against world No.93-ranked Israel at home on Friday, Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal), Andy Robertson (Liverpool) and John McGinn (Aston Villa) all ply their trade in England’s Premier League. The national team captain is a Champions League and Premier League winner at Anfield.

Given the struggles of a team comprised likewise of serial domestic winners in Celtic’s Christie, James Forrest and Callum McGregor, it is quite the eye-opener to consider how they would fare if a fate such as the one which has befallen the Czechs was to land on Clarke’s desk at Hampden.

Or would it clear the path to more blue-sky thinking for the man in charge?

Clarke came in for criticism for his defensive 3-5-2 formation at home to a lower-ranked nation on Friday night, apparently an attempt to shoehorn in world-class talents Roberston and Tierney, who both nominally operate at left-back. With a blank canvass, Clarke could be forced into selecting a team to suit a system appropriate for the level of opposition, rather than a system to suit his top players.

No one would suggest that being forced to select essentially a second-string team would be helpful to any manager, but there is a sense watching Scotland at the moment that Clarke faces a dilemma not only in terms of the personnel he selects for competitive fixtures, but whether he tries to iron out the creases in a system which until forward Oli McBurnie pulled out last week has altered from plan A.

Could Jon McLaughlin be rewarded with a start in goal for the fine start he’s made at Rangers this season?

Liam Cooper, the centre-half who captained Leeds United back into the Premier League last season has surely staked a claim for a staring berth.

This might be the time to make a decision on whether to go with Robertson or Tierney based on form alone.

With a plethora of midfield talent available, Clarke could adjust his formation to accommodate three central midfielders and play his wide men further up the park.

Should he opt to play the only recognised striker in the squad, QPR’s Lyndon Dykes, once more, he has options on either side in the likes of Oliver Burke, Christie and Forrest.

Perhaps with the quality of tonight’s opposition compromised, the Scotland manager has a chance of his own to ring the changes and try something different.