AFTER going over three months without seeing his grandchildren due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Steve Clarke is looking forward to being reunited with his extended family after the international break.

“When we finish tomorrow night and I go home for the first time in a long time I will see them, which will be fantastic,” he said. “I haven’t seen them since Christmas. I can’t wait.”

Clarke won’t, though, allow his excitement about what lies ahead in the coming days to divert his attention from the Qatar 2022 qualifier against the Faroe Islands at Hampden this evening and he knows his charges will need to be fully focused too.

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The national team, who have drawn with Austria at home and Israel away in their opening two Group F fixtures, are widely expected to beat the section’s minnows and beat them comfortably.

However, their manager, who saw tiny Luxembourg stun the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, is taking nothing for granted. He is certainly set to make changes and leave a few key players out. But he will still field a strong starting line-up. 

“If you are not sure about the Faroes then watch the first 30 minutes of their match against Austria at the weekend,” said Clarke. “They were good. 

“What are their strengths? Two banks of four defensively, they keep two up top. So, they ask questions of you on the counter attack. 

“The two front players are decent. They have got good height in their team. Set-plays, long throws, sometimes very long throws depending on how good the boy gets it. 

“They have a centre half who is about 6ft 7in and he scored against Austria from a corner, so their set-piece delivery is good.  

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“They are a physical team and are a threat on set-plays. That would be how I would describe the Faroes. They have decent ability. 

“It’s a game we need to win so there maybe won’t be quite as many rotations or changes as I might have done had we got a few more points in the bag.  We’re definitely going to go strong to win the game. We need to get the balance right too.”

Clarke continued: “But it’s a game we have to win, I am not talking them up and saying they are fantastic. They are a good, competent international team.

“If you play against one of them then you have to the job properly. You have to play well and create chances and take those chances and make sure you get three points.

“We’ll look to put a little tweak into our system that causes them a problem and hopefully that’s what we’ll do. It’s a night where we want a good performance and three points.”

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Scotland’s chances of reaching their first World Cup since France ’98 have been written off by some commentators after their disappointing draws against Austria and Israel.

Clarke, whose men will resume their campaign in September with an away game against Group F top seeds Denmark, feels they will be well placed if they triumph tonight.  

“We want to finish the week with five points and then it’s five months before the next batch of matches in the World Cup campaign,” he said.

“If we have five points to take into the September matches - which I think will be quite pivotal in the group with Denmark and Austria away and Moldova at home - that could be a pivotal week. But let’s just concentrate on the job in hand and getting the three points against the Faroes.”

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Clarke should give David Marshall a rest and bring in Craig Gordon in goals and may freshen up his forward line by drafting in Oliver McBurnie or Kevin Nisbet.

“I’ve got a few decisions I want to mull over in my head overnight,” he said. “It’s difficult to put a figure on how many changes there could be. We’ll just wait and see. No doubt I’ll get stick for it anyway!

“I don’t care who scores. As long as we get one more than them. The goals will come as and when. It does not really matter to us as a team and a squad of players who gets the goals, we just want to get more goals than the opposition.”