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Why Kieran Tierney injury is such a blow to Steve Clarke’s Scotland



Why Kieran Tierney injury is such a blow to Steve Clarke’s Scotland

The big negative in a fairly positive evening for Scotland was the injury to Kieran Tierney in the 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

After being rolled by striker Dan Ndoye, the Arsenal defender, who spent last season loan at Real Sociedad, was stretchered off after suffering what looked like a serious muscle issue.

Despite the 27-year-old, who has been plagued by injury across the past year, then being able to walk down the tunnel, head coach Steve Clarke said “it looks pretty bad” and confirmed he would miss the must-win game with Hungary on Sunday.

A nation like Scotland losing a player of Tierney’s calibre is always likely to have a significant impact, but his influence in Clarke’s side is striking when you dissect their results with and without him.

Since Clarke’s appointment in 2019, Tierney has played 35 games for his country, with 16 victories coming from those caps – a win percentage of 46%.

In the 22 games he has not featured in, that win rate drops to 41%.

Nine losses have come in the 35 caps he has earned under Clarke. The same number of defeats have come in the 22 matches he has missed.

Scotland also ship more goals when Tierney isn’t in the team – a concession rate of 1.1 per game with him in the side jumps up to 1.7 without him.

Remarkably, in the 35 fixtures Tierney has played under Clarke, the defence have conceded just two more goals than the 37 they have lost in the 22 matches he has been absent for.

Scott McKenna replaced the former Celtic defender in Cologne on Wednesday and performed well during his half-hour cameo.

A similar impact will be required on Sunday if he is the man to fill the void left by an integral part of the Scotland side.

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