STEVE Clarke last night stressed he won’t shy away from making “difficult decisions” ahead of Scotland’s opening Qatar 2022 qualifier against Austria as he revealed Che Adams had been “impressive” in training this week.

Clarke called up Southampton striker Adams, the Leicester-born player who qualifies to represent this country due to a maternal grandparent who hails from Edinburgh, after seeing him score seven Premier League goals this term. 

READ MORE: How Paul Lambert's insider information helped Scotland beat Austria and take a huge stride towards France '98

The national team ended a 23 year wait to qualify for the finals of a major tournament back in November when they defeated Serbia on penalties in the Euro 2020 play-off final in Belgrade.

However, their manager will have no qualms about dropping established internationalists and pitching Adams straight into his starting line-up this evening if he believes he is best placed to help Scotland get their bid to reach their first World Cup since France ’98 off to a winning start. 

Glasgow Times:

“The job entails big decisions,” said Clarke. “Difficult decisions, big decisions, I have to make them if I feel somebody can go straight in and make a difference in this game.

“I have to pick a team I think can win the first game. You have to balance yourself because it’s three games and hopefully I get the balance right tomorrow and in the two games to follow.

READ MORE: Stuart Armstrong on how he helped his Southampton team mate Che Adams become a Scot

“The two new boys, Che and Kevin (Hibernian forward Nisbet), have come in and really been impressive. You can tell from reaction of the other players in the group that they are happy with the squad and the make-up of the squad. Hopefully that can only bode well for the future.

“When we got them into training, I looked at the squad and at the level and standard of the training sessions and I turned to John Carver and said: ‘I’ve just given myself more problems, the standard’s gone up’.

“It’s really good, it’s been good to see. Hopefully I can get the balance right across the three games and we can pick up the points.”

Glasgow Times:

Clarke has sensed the members of his Scotland squad are eager to build on Euro 2020 qualification and get their Qatar 2022 campaign off to a positive start in their matches against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands this month.

“They want to be successful, they don’t want to qualify for one tournament and then miss out on the next one,” he said.

“We want to qualify for Qatar 2022 and it starts tomorrow night. It’s a tough start against a team that’s seeded above us, but we think we are in a good place and we think we have a good team and we want to show that on the pitch.”