STEVE Clarke has warned his Scotland players they will have to perform far better than they did in their win over Cyprus to defeat Spain in their second Euro 2024 qualifier tomorrow night.

Clarke was delighted when the national team triumphed 3-0 at Hampden on Saturday thanks to a first-half John McGinn goal and a late double from substitute Scott McTominay.

It was the first time this country has got their European Championship campaign underway with a victory since they beat the Faroe Islands 6-0 at Celtic Park back in 2006. 

However, the manager felt his men were careless in possession at times and failed to capitalise fully on their chances up front – and he has stressed they will have to raise their games iin those areas in their second Group A outing. 

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“I think the Cyprus game was really important for us,” he said. “You are at home, you know you have the top dogs in the group coming next. 

“I pressed home the importance of getting three points for this game. It was is the first step on the road to Germany. It was a home game and we needed the three points to kick start the campaign.

“It was very important for us to get three points and maybe in moments in the second-half you could feel that nervousness in the stadium. I could feel a little bit on the pitch as well. 

“I touched on that at half-time with the players as well. I said that for 30 minutes I was loving what they were doing. But after that they stopped and became a little bit sloppy. 

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“It might have felt nice to be popping the ball around in front of 50,000, but we started making mistakes in possession and they got a little bit of life from that. We have to be better at that.

“That gave the opposition the feeling they could get something from the game. We have to learn from that. We have to be a little bit more ruthless and clinical.” 

Clarke was delighted to see his substitute Ryan Christie, Lyndon Dykes and Scott McTominay combine to set up the all-important second goal late on against Cyprus.

He was, too, pleased with the impact that Nathan Patterson made when he replaced Aaron Hickey in the second-half.

However, the former Newcastle United, Chelsea and Liverpool assistant knows that a stark improvement is required to overcome the 10th placed team in the FIFA World Rankings. 

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“There’s great strength in depth,” he said. “Aaron started to tire a little bit towards the end because he is another who has been out injured for quite a period of time. 

“It’s nice when you can bring on Nathan. We do talk about the left hand side, but the right hand side functioned well. 

“Young Ryan Porteous also did well stepping in for his second cap. So I think there is a lot to be positive about.

“But let’s not get carried away. We need to keep our feet on the ground and turn up a good result on Tuesday night.”