STEVE Clarke will look to test his Scotland players with demanding friendly matches against respected football nations before the Euro 2024 finals in Germany next summer, he has confirmed.

Clarke’s men are on a five game winless run after failing to overcome England, Spain, France, Georgia and Norway in their most recent outings.

The national team will only be able to play four friendly matches – two in March and two in June – before they take to the field for their opening group game at the Euros.

However, their manager will not look to line up opponents who can be easily overcome in the months ahead even though his charges have not triumphed since September.

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“We will go away, we will wait for the draw, we will see who is around, we will see who wants to play us, we will look for teams we want to play as well and then we will see what is the best way to go about it,” he said.

“But I would like competitive matches because I think like I said before that you need that competitive edge, we need that competitive edge. Hopefully I will pick four decent friendlies.”   

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Asked if it would be beneficial for the Scotland players to take on smaller countries and build up their confidence with victories ahead of the Euro 2024 finals, Clarke said: “No, not really.

“I want competitive games. I don’t think you learn enough from a game like that or playing a Pot 5 or Pot 6 team or whatever. I will be looking for Pot 1, Pot 2, Pot 3, Pot 4 teams. It would be better if it was teams that aren’t going to the Euros.

“There are not too many easy games at international level. France might think there are one or two easier games, but not many other countries.”

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Meanwhile, Clarke has declared himself satisfied with Jacob Brown’s performance up front for Scotland against Norway, but admitted he would have liked to see the Luton Town forward net in the second half.

Brown was preferred to Lyndon Dykes and Shankland in attack in the absence of Che Adams and worked hard during his time on the park. However, the nine-times capped player failed to convert a Nathan Patterson cross before Stuart Armstrong netted.

“We have good quality,” said Clarke. “Jacob was good. He worked hard in a lone shift against two big physical guys. I thought he did okay.

“I am disappointed that Jacob didn’t score a goal off the cross from the right, but we recovered it well and showed a good tenacity to get into that corner. John (McGinn) showed what a good player he is and Stuart’s finish was top.”