On the face of it, on paper Scotland’s last two results aren’t too bad. The 1-1 draw with Israel and 2-1 win over the Czech Republic sees the Scots top Group 2 of League B of the Nations League.

However, that doesn’t tell anything like the entire story. Scotland’s performances in both games were poor. Two of the three goals came from penalties by Ryan Christie, as Scotland struggled to create chances.

The performance against the Czech Republic was particularly poor. Scotland were given the run around by a makeshift Czech side, as the squad originally picked for the game were self-isolating.

Goalkeeper saved Scotland’s blushes

It took a man of the match display by goalkeeper David Marshall to get Scotland the three points.

Czech Republic v Scotland - UEFA Nations League
Photo by Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Now that the games have been played and the Scotland players return to their club sides, manager Steve Clarke will come under the microscope.

Scotland are struggling to play good football under his management. His three at the back system picked for the game against the Czech Republic really didn’t work out, and the team struggled to create chances going forward.

Scotland’s experience was probably always going to tell in the end against the Czech Republic. It was alarming though as a Scotland fan to see just how many chances they created in the game.

Perhaps the only good thing for Clarke to come out of the two games is the emergence of Lyndon Dykes. The QPR striker didn’t look out of his depth in the two games. He looks like he could do a good job for Scotland going forward.

Forthcoming fixtures could define tenure

Back to Clarke, and the Scotland boss doesn’t have a lot of time to get things right. In October, he faces three vital fixtures.

Two of those games are in the Nations League, but the first of the three is the most important.

Czech Republic v Scotland - UEFA Nations League
Photo by Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Scotland takes on Israel again, but this time in the long-awaited Euro 2020 play-off semi-final. A win in that game would take Scotland one match away from a first tournament appearance since 1998.

Clarke must use the time between now and getting his squad together for the Israel game to try and formulate a plan that will see Scotland defeat Israel.

A win in that game would put the nation on a high. A loss though, and Clarke will be under the most pressure he has faced yet.

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