Aberdeen-raised midfielder Stuart Armstrong insists he would never turn down the opportunity to play for his country.
The build-up to tomorrow’s Euro 2020 qualifier away to Cyprus has been overshadowed by call-offs.
Scotland captain Andy Robertson withdrew with an ankle injury while Ryan Fraser (Bourmemouth), Scott McTominay (Manchester United) and Liam Cooper (Leeds) also pulled out injured.
Southampton’s Armstrong, 27, insists there is no dubiety over their absence as all four are ruled out through injury.
He also underlined his own commitment to the national cause.
He said: “I don’t think I would ever turn down the opportunity to come away with Scotland.
“Playing for your country is probably the best thing in football for me.
“It’s a different feeling from club football. Club football is terrific but playing for Scotland is always a special thing for me.
“It was difficult not being named in the squad initially the last time but I had a good chat with the manager and completely understood the things we talked about.
“The Scotland squad should always be picked on form and sometimes when you are not playing as regularly as you want to for your club, you can’t really argue. I was delighted to get the call to come back into the squad. I love being here.”
Armstrong was initially omitted from Clarke’s previous squad to face Russia and San Marino last month.
However, he was a late addition following the withdrawal of Oli McBurnie.
He said: “It was really nice of the gaffer to explain to me beforehand why I wasn’t in that squad. I could have just found out when he named it.
“We had a good chat and I completely agreed with everything he said.
“It’s a great positive to have that relationship with the manager.
“All the players will be the same.
“He’s just open with us.
“We are all human beings and can all be spoken to as adults.
“It’s a great thing to be able to speak one-on-one truthfully.”
The qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan at Hampden on Tuesday are the last chance for Clarke to work with the squad before the play-offs in March. Yet he will be without players who will be key to the play-offs.
Armstrong said: “They are injured. They play a lot of high-intensity games, it’s full on and you pick up little niggles. Sometimes you are not always 100% and these things happen.”
At club level Armstrong suffered the humiliation of a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City last month.
That is clearly still raw.
Asked to talk about the record loss, he said: “I’d rather not.”
Scotland’s final chance of qualifying for the Euro 2020 finals looms with the play-offs in March.
He said: “We have two big games in March but we’re not thinking about that right now.
“It’s about making sure these games against Cyprus and Kazakhstan are positive, that we get points and finish as high in the group as possible.
“Everyone thrives on winning games.
“That attracts positivity among supporters, so it’s up to us as a group to offer the fans good performances and wins.”