Steve Clarke: Scotland manager adds voice to 'stay home' message

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke told Scotland fans "I will be thinking of you" on Thursday evening

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has urged fans to "stay healthy, stay safe, most importantly stay home" on the day his side were due to be playing a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

Scotland were scheduled to play Israel at Hampden on 26 March but that match has been put off until June at the earliest because of coronavirus.

"I think most of you, like me, will have woken up this morning, looked at the date and wished the circumstances could have been very different," Clarke said in a letter to supporters.

"The world has changed in recent weeks and months and football, rightly, has had to take a step back as our government and our wonderful, brave and selfless NHS staff step up their efforts to tackle a far greater opponent.

"This is a difficult letter to write because, as a father and grandfather there are far greater considerations in life right now and far greater responsibilities on all of us but, at the same time, I feel it important to recognise and show appreciation for the effort you all had gone to in ensuring our match against Israel would have been a sell-out."

The Scotland manager says the "sense of togetherness, loyalty and commitment" of the nation's fans is "needed in our lives now, more than ever before" to tackle the virus.

"The first minister and the chief medical officer have been clear in outlining exactly what the nation must do to combat the virus that has become a global pandemic," he added.

"I urge all of you to heed that advice: stay indoors, protect your family, and protect others. Stay home, save lives. Simple.

"Football is our national sport and its absence has had the same effect on me that it has had for every lover of the game in this country. The sooner we all take the advice on board to stay at home, the sooner we can get back to our own normality of midweek nights and weekend afternoons among friends, at our spiritual homes across the country.

"I will be thinking of you tonight and imagining what might have been and what could yet be."

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