Euro 2020 qualifiers: Scotland squad hamstrung by loss of Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie

Armstrong has tested positive, while Tierney and Christie have been forced to isolate for 14 days after coming into close contact with the Southampton midfielder.

Agence France-Presse October 07, 2020 23:51:39 IST
Euro 2020 qualifiers: Scotland squad hamstrung by loss of Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie

Kieran Tierney in action for Scotland (R). AFP

Scotland boss Steve Clarke admitted his team selection has been affected after Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie, were ruled out of Thursday's European Championship play-off semi-final against Israel due to coronavirus protocols.

Armstrong has tested positive, while Tierney and Christie have been forced to isolate for 14 days after coming into close contact with the Southampton midfielder.

All other members of the squad returned negative tests but two members of the backroom staff have also been identified as close contacts.

"Hopefully everyone involved will come through with no issues, the health of anybody is more important than any game of football," said Clarke.

"I have now spoken to all three players involved in the situation, they are very disappointed not to be involved in such a big game."

Scotland are two games away from a first major international tournament for 22 years. Beat Israel on Thursday and they will face Norway or Serbia in November for a place at next year's postponed Euros.

Arsenal defender Tierney and Celtic midfielder Christie would almost certainly have started, while Clarke has also lost Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke through injury.

"We were working towards one team and now we have to change that," added Clarke.

"We moved the training back to this afternoon. We have a little bit of time to work on one or two different things, one or two different players coming into the team that maybe didn't expect to play.

"Although it is disappointing for the ones who have had to drop out because of the situation, the ones who are going to get a chance to play - what an opportunity."

Armstrong, Tierney and Christie will also miss Nations League matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the next week.

The two-week isolation will force Tierney to miss Arsenal's trip to Manchester City on October 17, while Christie will be absent for the first Old Firm game in 10 months against Rangers on the same day.

Stricter coronavirus regulations will be introduced in Scotland from Friday to curb a rising number of infections, but professional sport will continue to have an exemption to keep playing.

"If you look at the way the virus is spreading it is obviously becoming more prevalent as restrictions were eased, as everyone expected," said Clarke.

"There is no reason why it can't infiltrate a football camp, no matter how secure your bubble and protocols are.

"It is something that is there, it is in everyone's lives now, we have to adapt as much as we can and be prepared for. I tell the players that they have to be ready to step in at any time because we need everybody."

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