McGregor: Steve Clarke’s Never Going to be a Quick Fix
Clarke’s side cannot qualify from Group I but can progress to their first major tournament since 1998 via the Nations League play-offs, which take place in March 2020.
But this week’s European Qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, live on Sky Sports Football, offer an opportunity to end their campaign on a “positive”, says McGregor.
The Celtic midfielder believes too much was expected of Clarke too soon after he took over as Scotland boss in May off the back of guiding Kilmarnock to European football for the first time in 18 years.
“Everyone thought it would be quick fix,” he told Sky Sports News. “But in football it’s very difficult to do that. You need to build, you need time and you need a group of players every day.
“Everyone is away playing different philosophies with their club football and then when you come together you have that week to try and implement what you want to do.
“So I don’t think it was ever really going to be a quick fix.”
Back-to-back home and away defeats to Belgium and Russia ended all hopes of automatic qualification for Scotland, and provided a “learning curve” for both the players and Clarke, says McGregor.
- Robertson, McTominay, Fraser ‘genuinely injured’
He is expected to captain Scotland this week in the absence of the injured Andrew Robertson, who joined Scott McTominay and Ryan Fraser in pulling out of the squad – while Kieran Tierney stayed at Arsenal.
Scotland assistant manager Alex Dyer insisted the trio are “genuinely injured” ahead of the double-header, despite some claims that they have prioritised their club football.
“It’s obviously frustrating when boys get injured but that’s part of football,” said McGregor. “You have to try and come up with another mix of players to get a result.
“It’s important we try to build as a squad. Everyone that’s here, we try and give our best for our country.”