Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan: Steve Clarke says nation can be 'very optimistic'

Watch: Scotland squad 'feeling good about themselves'

Scotland can be "very optimistic" as they look forward to the Euro 2020 play-offs, says manager Steve Clarke, after his side beat Kazakhstan 3-1.

John McGinn's double and a Steven Naismith goal helped Scotland come from behind to earn a fourth win in eight and finish third in the group.

They will find out on Friday if they will play Bulgaria, Hungary, Israel or Romania in the play-off semi-finals.

"They are desperate to get to a tournament," Clarke said of his side.

"They are 100% committed to their country and I know what they are thinking in that dressing room.

"We can be very optimistic about this group. I've spoken a lot about positivity and I'm hoping it spreads to the supporters and the media."

Scotland failed to qualify automatically after finishing third in Group I behind Belgium and Russia. However, Clarke's men could be as little as 180 minutes away from a first major finals since 1998.

They are guaranteed home advantage for the one-off semi-final on 26 March after topping their earlier Nations League section, and Clarke is hoping to see Hampden at its best for one of the nation's biggest games in recent memory.

"The place will be full, I'm sure it will be," he said. "We've shown we can be a good team here. If we can get a good atmosphere and play on the front foot, we can be OK."

Victory for Scotland would see them through to the play-off final, also played over one leg, which will take place on 30 March.

Clarke's side would face either Norway or Serbia, and the Scots will find out on Friday's draw whether they would be home or away for that fixture.

'Best we've played for a long, long time'

"Hopefully, off the back of that, it starts to get the country believing again," said Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor of the comeback victory.

"First half, we kept the ball well enough but we weren't a threat. Then there's one counter-attack that leads to the goal and you're thinking 'same old Scotland'.

"But we go in at half time and the manager has a word. Second half; tempo, performance, attitude - everything was miles better.

"I think it's probably the best we've played for a long, long time, with that intensity and the way we pressed - and we had real quality on the ball as well.

"On the basis of the second half, if we play like that, I think we have a real chance [in the play-offs]."

'Clarke used verbal flamethrower' - analysis

Watch: 'I'm very confident Scotland can win home semi'

BBC Scotland chief sportswriter Tom English on Sportsound

I think Clarke must have given the players a verbal flamethrower at half-time, because they came out with intent. The crowd will go home feeling a little bit happy, and Clarke will be content with three wins in a row.

Former Scotland defender Willie Miller on Sportsound

The game could've been a canter if Scotland had done the basics in the first half. If they can put two halves together like the second-half performance, they have a chance of qualifying via the play-offs.

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport