Steve Clarke intends to utilise his Scotland squad in Tuesday’s friendly against Austria.
The Scots drew 1-1 with Poland in a friendly at Hampden last Thursday and although his squad came through that match unscathed, Clarke – who generally maintains a consistency of selection where possible – plans to mix things up to give other players game time in Vienna.
That could mean debuts for new squad additions Craig Halkett and Ross Stewart.
“Yeah, I think looking at the bigger picture and in terms of fairness to the squad more than anything, taking out the club issues, this is the game that I will probably rotate a little bit more than I would do for the second game of an international break,” said Clarke.
Asked if he had to consider resting some players given several of them have big games coming up at club level, Clarke said: “It is not too bad because the game is a Tuesday night for us.
“They can recover Wednesday, recover Thursday and be ready to go on Friday. Everyone will be fit and well for the weekend, injuries permitting of course.”
Captain Andy Robertson returns to the fold after missing the Poland game through illness, while striker Lyndon Dykes is deemed fit to return after a hamstring injury which QPR manager Mark Warburton said last week would prevent him playing any part in Scotland’s double-header.
Asked if he had spoken with QPR, Clarke said: “Not since pre-camp. We obviously discussed the issue before the camp and then we were guided by QPR.
“They allowed him to come up and join us to watch the Poland game. He has done a couple of training sessions since and he is good to go.”
Austria go into Tuesday’s friendly under a cloud after their World Cup bid was ended by Wales in last Thursday’s play-off semi-final in Cardiff.
Manager Franco Foda announced at his pre-match press conference on Monday he would be stepping down after the Scotland game following more than four years in charge of the national team.
Reflecting on his counterpart’s impending departure, Clarke said: “It’s always disappointing when you hear a manager has lost his job.
“Franco has done a good job for his national team, they got to Euro 2020 and pushed Italy all the way in the knockout phase. He can be proud of the work that he has done.”
Scotland helped add to Foda’s problems when they pulled off a 1-0 victory in a World Cup qualifier in Vienna back in September.
“It is somewhere where we have been before,” said Clarke. “We know we can go there and perform.
“The Austrians obviously had a big disappointment against Wales. Looking at it, how I would be as a player or manager or coach, I would be looking at the next game to try and get the previous game out of the system. So I expect a really competitive game.
“They will want to win to get back on an even keel. Obviously, it is a game where the manager has announced it will be his last game. So they will want to get on the pitch and do the best for their country, same as our boys.”
How to follow
Watch Austria vs Scotland live on Sky Sports Action on Tuesday from 7.40pm; kick-off 7.45pm. Full match highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel at the final whistle.
- This will be the 14th friendly between Austria and Scotland, with the visitors winning the previous such fixture 1-0 in May 2007. The last time the Tartan Army won consecutive friendlies over the Austrians was in April 1994.
- Austria have failed to win any of their last four games against Scotland in all competitions (D2 L2), equalling their longest run without a victory in this fixture which came between October 1979 and April 1997 (D2 L2).
- Scotland have won in each of their last two away games against Austria in all competitions, as many as in the previous 10 such games (D3 L5).
- Austria have only lost two of their last 10 international home games (W6 D2), although one of those defeats came against Scotland in a World Cup qualifier in September (0-1), with Lyndon Dykes getting the winner after 30 minutes.
- Scotland are unbeaten in their last seven internationals (W6 D1), with the 1-1 draw with Poland last time out ending a run of six successive wins – only between October 2019 and November 2020 have the national team enjoyed a longer unbeaten run under Steve Clarke (9 games – W6 D3).
- Should Aleksandar Dragovic feature for Austria against Scotland, he will become only the second player for the national team to reach 100 caps, the first being Andres Herzog who played 103 times between 1988 and 2003.
- Since Steve Clarke’s tenure as Scotland manager, no player has been involved in more goals than John McGinn (15 – 11 goals, 4 assists), with the Aston Villa midfielder providing the assist for Kieran Tierney’s first international goal last time out against Poland, while only Andy Robertson (2326) has played more minutes than him (2322).
- Scotland have scored in each of their last seven internationals, they last had a longer run of consecutive games scored in under Gordan Strachan between November 2013 and June 2015 (12 games – W7 D3 L2).