Steve Clarke swerves World Cup draw but Scotland chiefs pick out three potential Qatar bases


Scotland boss Steve Clarke insists he’s not interested in Friday’s World Cup draw – because we’re not there yet.

The SFA have already chosen three potential World Cup base camps in Qatar should Scotland qualify.

But the Scots are waiting on a confirmed date for their play-off semi-final against war-torn Ukraine. FIFA hopes to play the game in June, with the winner facing Wales in a showdown for Qatar 2022.

Clarke’s team will be in the hat for the Doha draw this week but the national manager is adamant that he will be taking nothing for granted.

England have already booked a luxury, five-star resort in Al Wakrah for the finals.

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And Clarke has revealed he’s also had to look at hotels and training bases in the Middle East ahead of the December tournament.

But the Scotland gaffer won’t start thinking about it before qualification is secured.

He said: “We have to qualify first.

“But Graeme Jones, our head of performance, has been out in Qatar.

“We have three places earmarked to stay.

“Obviously depending on if we get there or not, we will get one of those three places.

“Which ever one it is will be adequate for us.

Are the logistics a problem for us? Not really because we’re just waiting, ready to go.

“We have two or three different ideas in our heads as to what we have to do.

“The worst thing is that we’re watching play-off games and teams are now one step away from the World Cup.

“We’re sitting waiting on a confirmed date for when we can actually play our semi-final.

“So it’s just the uncertainty more than anything that’s an issue.



Scotland must wait to play the semi-final against Ukraine

“But as I’ve always said, the backdrop means that we can’t complain about it.

“Because Ukraine is in a hell of a position, the way the country is.

“The fact there is a war there makes everything else totally inconsequential.

“We just have to deal with it and that’s what we will be doing.”

Scotland will find out who they’d face in our first World Cup since 1998 at Friday’s draw, with Ukraine and Wales in the same boat.

Only one of those nations will make it and that’s why Clarke won’t be paying too much attention to the groups at this stage.

He said: “I’m not too bothered about it because we’re not there yet.

“We will be in there as a TBC – to be confirmed!

“We will watch it and obviously be interested in what might be.

“But might be’s don’t matter in football.

“Will I take pride in being in it? Not really, not for me. Because I want to get there. I want to be at the tournament.

“When we get there – if we get there – then we can start talking about pride and how well we’ve done.

“However, we have to get there first and we have two more steps to make. So we’ll just wait and see.”

Clarke’s side play Austria in a friendly Vienna on Tuesday night, where the likes of Jacob Brown, Ross Stewart, Aaron Hickey and Lewis Ferguson could get game time.

The manager also revealed that skipper Andy Robertson and striker Lyndon Dykes – who missed Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Poland at Hampden through illness and injury – are also set to return to the Scotland fold.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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