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Scots have what it takes to slay Russia: Clarke


Aiming big: Steve Clarke is targeting a major upset over Russia
Aiming big: Steve Clarke is targeting a major upset over Russia

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland manager Steve Clarke admits they need a "big win" to unite the nation behind them.

Clarke believes the visit of World Cup quarter-finalists Russia to Hampden tonight offers the next chance to do so but not necessarily the one they need to take.

Scotland face a pivotal three games in their chances of automatic qualification for the European Championship, with the visit of Belgium on Monday followed by a trip to Moscow on October 10.

Clarke took over in May with Scotland needing to pull a major result out of the bag following their shock opening defeat in Kazakhstan, and he feels it is about time the national team turned the tables.

When asked if this was a must-win game as Scotland look to close a three-point deficit on Russia, Clarke said: "Rather than put the pressure on to one game, over the course of the next three games we have to get enough points to make sure we are still in contention in the group.

"Whether it's Friday or Monday or away to Russia, we need to get points, we are aware of that. We need a big win.

"As a country it's been a long time since we turned over one of the so-called big boys.

"I think Russia, having been in the last eight of the World Cup, are one of the bigger teams.

"It's about time that we, as a nation, rather than being on the receiving end, we are dishing out a result that's deemed to be an upset."

Clarke had called for the Scotland fans to roar his team on when he named his squad and more than 35,000 had bought tickets ahead of kick-off.

He added: "Maybe one big result can change the mindset, not just of the squad but the whole nation. Hopefully it comes very soon."

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