Steve Clarke will not go to Qatar as boss on World Cup reception | Tech US News

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Steve Clarke has admitted that watching the lucky few prepare for another World Cup without Scotland feels like a punch in the gut.

All eyes are on the controversial tournament in Qatar in eight days’ time, but as they have been since 1998, the Tartan Army will stay at home.

The play-off defeat to Ukraine in June left Scotland with a familiar soreness that has left Clarke no longer keen to travel to the Middle East with nothing more than an observation deck.

But he is adamant his players, who ended a 20-year absence from major tournaments in Euro 2020 qualifiers, can take advantage of the injury to push themselves to Euro 2024.

The manager said: “That’s when it hits you a bit, when everyone starts naming teams.

“If you’re not involved, it’s disappointing.

“But we have to use that to take us forward and make sure we qualify for the next tournament – and the one after that.

“I will not go to Qatar. I would rather go together with a large team of players and my staff.”

Instead of Qatar, Scotland will travel to Turkey this week for a friendly that Clarke expects to be anything but.

It is the last time his team will assemble before Euro 2024 qualifiers begin in March and he is determined to record a fifth game unbeaten at the hostile Diyarbakir Stadium.

“Turkey are rebuilding and they are a dangerous team,” Clarke said. “We are ranked quite similarly.

“We are expecting a tough game and the atmosphere should be good as it is always very lively outside.

“It will be a good experience for the players to play in a hostile environment even though it is friendly.

“Hopefully we’ll put in a good performance. We’re four games unbeaten and we want to carry that into March.

“I didn’t play in Turkey but I went there a few times as a coach. It was lively and really noisy.

“That’s something to look forward to.”

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