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Clarke slams critics after Scotland’s World Cup woe


London (AFP) – Scotland manager Steve Clarke insists he will not listen to the critics who blasted his team after their painful World Cup play-off defeat against Ukraine.

Clarke’s side blew their chance to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1998 as Ukraine won 3-1 at Hampden Park in the play-off semi-final last Wednesday.

There has been criticism aimed at Clarke for his tactics and team selection, while several players have been accused of underachieving.

Ukraine were eventually beaten by Wales in the play-off final and Clarke is determined to block out the noise as Scotland start their Nations League campaign at home to Armenia on Wednesday.

“They’re entitled to their opinion. I don’t know what it (the criticism) was because I didn’t read it, I didn’t hear it, I didn’t listen to it,” Clarke told reporters on Tuesday.

“I deal with games and disappointments and move on. We’ve all been hurting but you have to move on, so Armenia tomorrow, I’m focused on that.”

Clarke was keen to point out to his detractors that Scotland were unbeaten in eight games prior to the Ukraine tie and also qualified for last year’s European Championship.

“We had a big disappointment to lose to Denmark last year and we bounced back with six wins,” he said. 

“We’ve now lost one in nine and everybody wants to change what worked before – I’m not sure where the logic is in that.”

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