SCOTLAND manager Steve Clarke believes reaching the Euro 2020 finals next summer will lift the mood of the entire country following the coronavirus pandemic.

And the national team manager has expressed hope the Tartan Army will be able to attend the rearranged play-off semi-final against Israel in October.

A sell-out 52,000-strong crowd was set to cram in to Hampden for the game back in March before the Covid-19 outbreak led to it being postponed.

Clarke admitted that he was unsure if supporters will be allowed to attend the rescheduled fixture – but he is keeping his fingers crossed his men will have some backing.

“I think September (when Scotland play Israel in a Nations League match) might be too quick,” he said.

“But even if you could get 5,000 to 10,000 people into Hampden (for the play-off in October) to give us some kind of atmosphere that would be terrific.

“Football needs a crowd. It needs an atmosphere. It needs something for the players to feed off and thrive off. Hopefully we can get a crowd in.

“But if we don’t it will be a new experience for me. The games in September would be the first time I’ve been involved in closed doors games.

“But the good thing from that point of view is that most if not all of the players will have experienced it so they will be more comfortable with that environment than I probably will be.”

Asked if reaching Euro 2020 would lift Scotland, Clarke said: “It would be helpful, no doubt, having a number of fans in whatever number in.

“That would help us and qualification would definitely help the mood of the nation. I understand that as the head coach and I take that pressure and embrace it.

“But it’s really important that we don’t put this particular group of players under all that pressure for not qualifying for 22 years because they’re not responsible for not qualifying over all those years.”