Sheffield United's Scotland stars are awarded an 'A+' grade for attitude

Oli McBurnie and John Fleck displayed the kind of attitude as they helped Scotland secure a vital win over Israel which can help Sheffield United put their Premier League season back on track, after Steve Clarke praised his squad for confronting adversity head-on.

Clarke, the Scotland manager, lost several key members of his team ahead of Thursday’s European Championship qualifier when Stuart Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19 - with Ryan Christie and Kieran Tierney also forced to withdraw after being deemed ‘close contacts’ of the midfielder.

But Clarke’s side, with McBurnie starting the match and Fleck named among the substitutes, displayed great character to take another step towards next summer’s finals - beating the visitors on penalties.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Nations League tie against Slovakia, Clarke said: “Everything that was put in front of us this week could be classed as an obstacle. But I said it was a big chance for people to step into the game.”

Fleck could win his third senior cap when Slovakia, who ended the Republic of Ireland’s hopes of appearing at the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament, visit Hampden Park. Like McBurnie, he is set to return to United on Thursday, when Chris Wilder’s side, who have yet to win this term, begin finalising their preparations for next weekend’s meeting with Fulham.

Oliver Burke, who had also been called-up by Clarke for the clash with the Israelis, returned to United after suffering an injury during a training session at Oriam, where United had based themselves during pre-season.

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Manager Steve Clarke during a Scotland training session at the Oriam: Craig Williamson / SNS Group

Chris Holt, Football Editor