SIR Kenny Dalglish has insisted his former Liverpool assistant Steve Clarke is still the best man to lead Scotland forward despite their disappointing run of results under him and can secure a Euro 2020 place through the play-offs next year.

The national team, who play Cyprus away on Saturday and then Kazakhstan at home a week today in their final Group I double header, have suffered heavy and demoralising defeats to Belgium and Russia in their section in the last five months.

Some members of the Tartan Army have grown sceptical that Clarke, whose appointment by the SFA was widely welcomed back in May, can end a wait to reach the finals of a major tournament that stretches back to France ’98.


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However, Scotland legend Sir Kenny, who made Clarke his No.2 during his second spell in charge at Anfield and has seen first hand what an exceptional coach the 56-year-old is, believes that progress has been made and is confident results are set to pick up.

The former Celtic and Liverpool forward, who represented his country at the 1974, 1978 and 1982 World Cups, has no doubts that better times lie ahead if his former colleague is given the time which he needs to turn things around.

And he is confident that Scotland can produce improved performances in Nicosia this weekend and then Glasgow the following Tuesday and go into the Euro 2020 play-offs in March with much-needed momentum behind them.

“It’s in the most capable hands it could be in as this moment in time,” he said. “The results may not have been great, but it doesn’t take away Stevie’s knowledge or his ability to get results. It’s just about patience.

“The person who was best suited for the job was Stevie. When the Scotland job came up, Stevie had been at Kilmarnock and there were four manager of the year awards to be handed out and he won three of them.

“If the SFA didn’t go and ask him to become the manager then they were going to get crucified. So they have gone to the right man, now he just needs to get results. But he will get results."


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Dalglish added: "I know the last game was against San Marino, but I thought we played well. You take into account what San Marino’s standing is, but we’ve never beaten anyone like that before (Scotland won 6-0 at Hampden last month).

“They scored some decent goals and played some decent football despite a fear the game might be abandoned due to the flooding on the pitch. I thought they did really well and against Russia as well. They were going really well but lost a goal and then capitulated after that.

“Steve will take it forward and I think we are getting stronger on the pitch. Scotland still have a chance to qualify and that should be a sign of encouragement for us. It’s maybe not a second chance but a third chance to get through and if we can take it then we should take it.”