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Rangers brought these 2 words into disrepute - surely Steve Clarke won't fall for the same trap? Hugh Keevins

A draw at home followed by a lap of honour.

No one is surely going to attempt to disguise Scotland’s result against Finland at Hampden on Friday night as the dreaded moral victory, are they? Those two words fell into disrepute for ever when Rangers manager Philippe Clement tried to pass them off as a verdict on his team’s 3-3 draw with Celtic in last season’s league title race. And we all know how that story ended for him.

The bottom line now is Scotland have one win in their last nine games and Germany, Switzerland and Hungary look far more intimidating at the Euro 2024 finals than they did when the groups were drawn. Objective criticism is, at a time like this, condemned as being unpatriotic. But there’s no upside to being two goals ahead at home and not winning. We don’t know our best team yet and the competition begins on Friday. The hope is we’re better in competitive matches than friendlies.

Steve Clarke had better hope so because he’s now five years in the job and that’s traditionally when fans start to think they’ve been looking at the same boss for too long – especially if our performance in Germany falls far short of what is hoped for. Clarke had an uncharacteristically profane response when asked how he felt after watching Leeds defender Liam Cooper go down injured against Gibraltar on Monday.

Scotland’s manager normally cuts a refined figure. But he betrayed the effects of the pressure starting to build, in tandem with his playing resources beginning to diminish. “I s**t myself,” was Clarke’s brief description of how he felt concerning the thought of losing yet another squad member on top of the quartet of Nathan Patterson, Aaron Hickey, Lewis Ferguson and Lyndon Dykes.

A potty-mouthed expression, for sure,