Cyprus 1-2 Scotland: Steve Clarke showing players how good he is - Greg Taylor

Euro 2020 qualifying: Scotland v Kazakhstan
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Tuesday, 19 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website; watch highlights on BBC Scotland

Scotland's 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win in Cyprus on Saturday helped show the squad how good Steve Clarke is as a head coach, says left-back Greg Taylor.

Taylor set up John McGinn's winner and the result - a second victory in a row - lifted Scotland to third in Group I.

"He's a top manager," Taylor, who played for Clarke at Kilmarnock before joining Celtic, told BBC Scotland.

"The boys are starting, slowly but surely, to see that - and winning games always helps."

He added: "I worked with the gaffer for two years before he took the job and I can't sing his praises high enough."

Scotland can no longer qualify for Euro 2020 through the group, but could still reach next summer's tournament via the play-offs in March.

Clarke's side host Kazakhstan in their final qualifier at Hampden on Tuesday (19:45 GMT kick-off).

Taylor, who crossed for McGinn to score in the 53rd minute in Nicosia, was playing only his second game in three months. Fellow summer signing Boli Bolingoli has nailed down the left-back spot since joining Celtic from Rapid Vienna, and Jonny Hayes has been preferred as his deputy.

And the 22-year-old only got to earn his second Scotland cap because of an injury to captain Andrew Robertson and with Arsenal having already asked for Kieran Tierney to be excused international duty as he continues his recovery from a hip injury.

"In football, it's about taking opportunities and, when you least expect it, you get them," said Taylor.

"Hopefully I've done enough to keep my place for Tuesday and, beyond that, we all know it's down to the gaffer.

"You keep a good base fitness - it's important to do that regardless if you're playing or not. I played against St Mirren a couple of weeks back, so it wasn't all that long ago that I played.

"I know obviously it's not been ideal - not playing as much as I'd have liked - but you've just got to be patient. It's a massive team I'm at."

After Scotland controlled the first half, Taylor said Cyprus forced his side into "a battle" following Georgios Efrem's stunning equaliser.

"It was frustrating to lose a goal, but it was helluva finish from the boy," said the defender.

"We showed good mentality. To go on and create for John - it's a great finish as well - and for that to be the winning goal was nice."

Scotland's hopes of qualifying from Group I had long gone, but Taylor hopes another win creates momentum as they prepare for the second chance afforded them by the Nations Cup.

"That's two on the bounce and hopefully we'll go and get three and we'll build for the play-offs in March," he added.

"They're important, these two games. Obviously there's been a few call-offs, which is not ideal, but it's up to the boys out there to take their chance."


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