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Scotland Euro 2024 squad: Manager Clarke on his ‘horrible week’

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke says he has had a “horrible week” after telling Craig Gordon and John Souttar they have been cut from his Uefa Euro 2024 squad.

Rangers centre-back Souttar has nine caps, while Hearts goalkeeper Gordon made his debut in 2004 and was informed by Clarke of his decision before a 2-2 draw at home to Finland on Friday in which he came on to win his 75th cap.

“I’ve had two really difficult conversations, as you can image,” Clarke told Premier Sports following the game, adding that the enforced removal of Lyndon Dykes because of an injury the QPR striker sustained before the 2-0 friendly win over Gibraltar on Monday had compounded the situation.

“They’re horrible, emotional conversations to have. I’ve got to be honest: since Lyndon’s injury, it’s been a horrible week.”

Gordon had the consolation of becoming the oldest Scotland international in history in a warm send-off at Hampden Park.

Craig Gordon Scotland caps

Former Sunderland and Celtic player Gordon was selected for Euro 2020 but remained an unused substitute throughout Scotland’s campaign.

“You never know what’s going to happen in football,” said Clarke. “Craig’s been sitting on 74 caps.

“He was in the squad in March and didn’t get time on the pitch. With over 40,000 people in the stadium, it was fitting moment to give him cap 75.

“It would just have been wrong, on the disappointment of him not going to the Euro, not to give him that 75th cap.”

Scotland draw with Finland

Clarke suggested that a penalty awarded against Gordon five minutes from time should not have been given because he felt the substitute had touched the ball in a challenge.

Despite lacking a cutting edge to match their dominance of possession in the first half, Scotland went 2-0 ahead after the break, only for Finland to score twice during the closing 18 minutes.

Scotland start the finals in the opening match against host nation Germany on Friday. They then play Switzerland on June 19 and Hungary four days later.

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