STEVE Clarke tonight hailed John Souttar after the Hearts player helped Scotland defeat Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark at Hampden and secure a Qatar 2022 play-off seeding.

A first-half goal from Souttar and a Che Adams strike four minutes from the end of regulation time ensured the national team recorded a famous triumph in front of a sell-out crowd.

Andy Robertson and his team mates will play the semi-final at home in March as a result of the comfortable victory over the runaway Group F winners.

Clarke was particularly pleased for Souttar – the Tynecastle centre half who was only called into his squad when Grant Hanley pulled out last week.

The defender, who has struggled with injuries for the past two years and last played for his country in 2018, was outstanding against the 10th placed side in the FIFA World Rankings. 

“It’s the best story ever,” said Clarke. “I am so happy for him, so happy. He’s had a horrendous time with injuries so even for John to be back in the squad was big for him.

“I know he was delighted to get the opportunity to play, and to play the way he played. Not just the goal, but defensively and with the ball. It’s a great story.

He added: “I always get criticised for not smiling bit if you can’t smile after a performance like that from your players then there’d be something wrong with you.

“I’m delighted, everything came together, it was a good performance, good football, always on the front foot trying to win the game so a really good night from us.

“When you know your players are in a good place then obviously you go in with confidence. I knew the players would go in with confidence and they showed that tonight.

“It was always going to be a difficult night at times we had to dig in and when we had to we defended well.

“Legs went a little bit towards the end and you’ve got to make the changes and the boys go onto the pitch and see out the job.

“Great night, another great atmosphere at Hampden, fantastic crowd got behind the team when we were starting to flag a little bit second half which is really important.”