After a remarkable Scotland performance at Hampden, the message from captain and manager was in unison. “The summer hurt us badly,” John McGinn said, with Steve Clarke adding that “the players suffered more than anybody”.
Wednesday’s Nations League encounter with Ukraine was not just about leapfrogging the visitors at the top of Group B1. It was also about proving that this Scotland side are one that can bounce back. And, boy, did they manage that.
Three months on from an optimism-sapping World Cup play-off defeat, the Scots turned over the same opposition in stunning fashion at Hampden with a much-deserved 3-0 victory. “Sometimes you need to respond in football,” Clarke told Premier Sports. “It’s nice that we’ve responded in this way.
“We did a lot of work in the short period we had, a lot of it very boring work in the lecture room, and they obviously took it all on board. They were excellent.”