STEVE Clarke has insisted that Scotland are good enough to take points off Group F top seeds Denmark in their Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign -  if his players believe in their own ability.

The national team got their bid to reach their first World Cup since France ’98 underway last week with draws against Austria at home on Thursday and Israel away on Sunday.

The disappointing if not disastrous results mean that Andy Robertson and his countrymen now have little if any margin for error in the remaining games in their section.

Glasgow Times:

However, Clarke is confident that Scotland, who take on the Faroe Islands at Hampden tomorrow evening, will perform far better with more games and can draw with or even defeat Denmark away in September.  

Speaking before flying out of Tel Aviv yesterday, he predicted his charges will benefit enormously from their involvement in the Euro 2020 finals this summer and improve.

“People have to remember this team of ours is still growing,” he said. “The more experience the players get the better they’ll be.

“The next round of World Cup matches is still five months away from now and we can do a lot more growing over that time. We’ll have at least three matches to play in the Euros and hopefully maybe even more.

“So this team will grow again before we return to the World Cup campaign and that could be hugely significant in terms of our development.”

Glasgow Times:

Clarke continued: “There has to come a moment in time where we believe we are good enough to go and take points from the Pot 1 teams and hopefully that’s going to be the case in this campaign.

“I believe the players are good enough to do that already, but they have to believe more in themselves.

“If they grow more over the next few months and prove to themselves what they can do at the Euros then we might be in a very different place when the World Cup qualifiers come back around.

“Four points from (the remaining matches against) Israel and Austria would put us in a very strong position and that’s exactly what we’ll look to achieve.”

Glasgow Times:

Clarke, though, admitted he was wary of Group F minnows the Faroe Islands causing at upset in their third qualifier at Hampden tomorrow night after watching some of international football’s smaller nations pull off shock results in recent days.  

Luxembourg, who have a population of little over 600,000 and are 98th in the FIFA World Rankings, defeated the Republic of Ireland 1-0 in a Qatar 2022 qualifier in Dublin on Sunday.

“You have to understand that these teams are now far better organised and more difficult to break down than they used to be a few years ago,” said Clarke.

Glasgow Times:

“Just look at the problems Spain had against Georgia (in a qualifier in Tbilisi on Sunday). They needed a winner in the 93rd minute so that just goes to prove that all these games are difficult. Then you just have to look at Slovakia drawing 2-2 at home to Malta the other night.

“The Faroes also took the lead against Austria so we know we can afford to take them lightly. But, at the same time, we do understand that it’s a game we have to win.”

Clarke is undeterred by the negative reaction to Scotland’s opening two results among their supporters and remains upbeat about their chances of reaching Qatar 2022.

“It’s just the way things are,” he said. “Everybody gets a wee bit carried away in the heat of the moment. Everybody wants to judge things in that instant.

“But that’s not the way I look at things. From our perspective, it’s going to be a long group and there are lots of points still to play for, starting with the Faroes on Wednesday night.

“If we get to the end of the first week with five points from our first three games then we can all sit down, look at the table and take stock.

“Don’t forget. Denmark now have to play Austria (in Vienna tomorrow night) so something has got to give there. So let’s not get involved in knee jerk reactions.

“Let’s wait and see how the table is looking when the first round of games are over and then we will be able to see what we have to do.”