Steve Clarke: Scotland character in Cyprus win 'bodes well for future'

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'Manager wanted us to play with freedom' - Burke

Steve Clarke aims to build on Scotland's "character and resilience" after starting his tenure as head coach with a nervy Euro 2020 qualification 2-1 victory over Cyprus.

Oliver Burke's 89th-minute goal settled the game two minutes after the visitors had stunned Hampden with an equaliser.

Scotland move up to third in Group I behind Russia and Belgium.

"We knew if we didn't get maximum points, the group was almost beyond us," Clarke said.

"It's difficult for me to be too critical of the players after I asked them to give me a win. They gave us three points in a game that came with big pressure.

"Lots to work on, for sure, but let's just enjoy the win and then we'll work on the next game."

Scotland had not troubled Cyprus goalkeeper Urko Pardo too often before captain Andy Robertson fired in a fabulous 20-yard strike on the hour.

However, the Liverpool full-back was at fault as Ioannis Kousoulos nodded in a free header from a corner before Burke's dramatic late winner, the substitute tapping in after his header struck a post.

"I thought we would be good enough to win the game and we put ourselves in a good position with a great strike," Clarke said.

"From there, I thought we had really good control of the game. I couldn't see Cyprus scoring from open play. Unfortunately, we switch off from a set-play and get punished.

"But, after that, the character and resilience. It would have been easy for them to feel sorry for themselves but they didn't and I think that bodes well for the future."

Next up for Clarke and his side is a trip to Belgium to face the team at the top of Fifa's world rankings on Tuesday.

After that, Scotland host Russia, then the Belgians, before travelling to Moscow - a run from which the head coach says they need to "find some points".

"We are still chasing points in the group. We left three points behind in Kazakhstan that we have to try and recover," he said.

"Belgium are the best team in the world but we can go there with a little bit of hope. We know we are back in the group and we go there confident and without the pressure we had tonight."

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