Legend Craig Brown has called for the nation to retain faith in under-fire Scotland manager Steve Clarke.
The high of qualifying and playing in Euro 2020 has evaporated with Clarke facing criticism for the 2-0 World Cup qualifier loss to runaway group leaders Denmark.
Clarke has suffered flak for the dismal first half performance against the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in Copenhagen and also his team selection.
One of the best left backs in the world with Liverpool national captain Robertson was initially played as a right-wing back against the Danes.
Brown has total faith in Clarke’s ability to lead Scotland to qualification for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
Brown’s message is clear – after the loss in Denmark the Scots will get better under Clarke in the bid to reach Qatar.
He is confident that will begin on Saturday at home against Moldova before a trip to Austria on Tuesday.
Brown said: “I would say have faith in the Scotland manager.
“I am fully supportive of Steve Clarke and the fans have all gotten behind him as well.
“When we were qualifying for the Euros everything was wonderful.
“Steve is a smashing manager and not just due to what he did at Kilmarnock, look at what he did in England.
“He had West Brom the highest they have ever been.
“I have not heard one player complain about what is happening with the Scottish team.
“They have also bought into him.
“The Tartan Army will also lift the team and will give their usual support at Hampden against Moldova.
“We will get better and we have a home game coming so Hampden will be packed.”
Key players missing for Denmark clash
Brown is the last manager to lead Scotland to a World Cup when he masterminded qualification for the 1998 finals in France.
In the bid to emulate Brown’s achievements and end a 24-year absence from the biggest party in world football Scotland are now seven points behind Denmark who look destined to top the group which brings the only automatic qualification spot for Qatar.
The group-runners up will then go into the play-offs in March with Scotland likely to fight it out for that berth with Israel and Austria.
Scotland have now gone four games without victory, scoring just once, with three of those games coming during Euro 2020 this summer.
Scotland’s bid to secure a positive result in Denmark were derailed by injury and Covid-19 absentees.
Premier League midfielders John McGinn, Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong were all absent for the trip to Copenhagen with right-backs Stephen O’Donnell and Nathan Patterson also ruled out.
Striker Kevin Nisbet was also absent from the defeat in Denmark.
McGinn sat out having tested positive for coronavirus, while Patterson and O’Donnell were also absent because of Covid-related issues.
Nisbet has recovered from a knock and all four trained with the Scotland squad on Friday.
Brown said: “We were a little unfortunate against Denmark because we were without McGinn, McTominay and Armstrong who have the legs to get about the pitch.
“These are top players who are in the English Premier League.”
More players at top English teams
Former Aberdeen boss Brown led Scotland to Euro 96 and the 98 World Cup at the tail end of three decades of regular qualification for major finals.
He insists the quest to replicate that in subsequent decades has been difficult for national managers as players were not operating at the same level.
At around 7.30pm tomorrow, there will be a light show inside Hampden using the new lighting system installed as part of EURO 2020 stadium upgrades.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 3, 2021
That has improved recently with Clarke able to select stars operating at top Premier League clubs such as Champions League winner Robertson (Liverpool), McTominay (Manchester United) and Kieran Tierney (Arsenal).
However Clarke still has to call up players from the English second tier.
Brown said: “During my time we were getting players from the top three clubs in England.
“When you look at previous Scotland managers Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish they had to pick some players from the English Championship and even League One.
“I’m not disrespecting those clubs but they are not playing at the highest level.
“Now there is obviously players like Andy Robertson who has won the Champions League.
“It is not the manager, it is the quality he is having to work with.
“Now the quality has improved a lot and players are coming in from the top teams in England.”
Scotland legend Brown was talking whilst at the Russell Anderson Foundation Golf Day at Hazlehead.
The former Aberdeen skipper launched The Russell Anderson Development School in 2012 with the goal of improving and increasing the provision of football development within recognised socially deprived areas of Aberdeen.
Brown said: “Russell deserves so much credit for organising the golf day.
“It was a fantastic day where there was so much goodwill.”