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It’s about building again – Stuart Armstrong wants Scotland to kick on

The Scots started their Nations League campaign with a win.

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Stuart Armstrong and manager Steve Clarke (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Stuart Armstrong and manager Steve Clarke (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Stuart Armstrong and manager Steve Clarke (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Stuart Armstrong is hoping Scotland can build renewed momentum by defeating off-form Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Steve Clarke’s men bounced back from their World Cup play-off heartache against Ukraine with a commanding 2-0 victory over Armenia in their Nations League opener at Hampden on Wednesday.

The Scots had been on an eight-game unbeaten run prior to last week’s shattering defeat.

Now Southampton midfielder Armstrong senses a chance for his side to go on a fresh run of form as they bid to make it two wins in a row against an Irish side who have lost their opening two Nations League games.

“We want to get up a head of steam,” he said. “Obviously we had a disappointment last week but now it’s about building again.

“We’re in a new campaign, we’ve started off well with three points (against Armenia). It’s about building on that with another strong performance on Saturday. It will be a different type of challenge but we believe we can build momentum.

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“I’m sure Ireland will be disappointed with the start they’ve had so the challenge will be even greater with them wanting to get some points and get off the mark.”

The Scots go to Dublin with confidence restored after a dominant performance against Armenia which should have yielded a more emphatic scoreline.

Armstrong knows another victory this weekend would stand them in good stead as they look to win the Nations League group and secure a play-off for Euro 2024.

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Stuart Armstrong started against Armenia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Stuart Armstrong started against Armenia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

PA

Stuart Armstrong started against Armenia (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“It’s always difficult when a team sets up in a low block and tries to defend,” said Armstrong.

“They had a lot of numbers behind the ball and it was quite tight but the first goal opened the game up for us and relaxed us a bit.

“When we went 2-0 up and half-time came, it was about just seeing the game through and trying to add to it if we could.

“I think it was a good performance, a solid performance, and that’s what we wanted to start off our Nations League campaign.

“We know how important this can be for us in terms of access to tournaments so it’s very important that we got the three points.”

We want to get up a head of steam. Obviously we had a disappointment last week but now it's about building againStuart Armstrong

The Scots are currently in the middle of a run of three games in seven days, but Armstrong – one of six players who came into the starting line-up for the Armenia match – is confident they have a strong enough squad to cope with the demands.

“It’s a tight schedule,” he said. “We had a week before our first game but now we’re in a run of three games in a week so we don’t want to think too far ahead – it’s just one game at a time.

“We’ll have a bit of a recovery and then we’ve got a tough challenge on Saturday.

“There’s a lot of depth across all the different positions which helps a lot. There will be a lot of recovery until Saturday but we’ve got a lot of fresh faces if required. It’s a good squad with a lot of options.”


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