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Scotland friendlies key to 'stake claim' for Euros

Friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland will be "very important" in terms of fine tuning the Scotland squad for Euro 2024, says assistant coach John Carver.

Scotland amassed an impressive 17 points from eight qualifying games to finish as runners-up behind Spain.

However, Steve Clarke's side are on a run of seven games without a win and have lost their past five friendlies.

Scotland meet Gibraltar in Portugal on Monday and welcome Finland to Hampden seven days before they kick off the finals against Germany in Munich on 14 June.

Clarke must cut two players from his training squad of 28 following the match against the Finns.

"Let’s not forget, we’ve got two games before we go out to Germany, so they’re going to be very important. Players are going to get time on the pitch.

"It’s an opportunity for them to stake a claim. We haven’t made a final decision.

"The majority of the group will play in the two games, it’s about giving them some game time as well. Obviously we’ve got one or two lads that we need to see play as well and prove their fitness and we need to get back to winning ways."

Stuart Armstrong and John Souttar trained separately from the main group on Thursday, while Scott McTominay, Scott McKenna, Greg Taylor and Ben Doak were absent.

"We’re delighted with everybody who’s turned up in good condition and we’re quite happy with their progress," explained Carver.

Ryan Jack has only played 13 minutes for Rangers since 10 February but Carver said the midfielder "looks great".

"I know there’s been one or two things said, but Ryan’s been fit for a few weeks now," he added. "He deserves to be with us because he’s been huge for us."

The provisional squad contains four goalkeepers but Carver did not offer any indication whether Zander Clark, Craig Gordon, Angus Gunn and Liam Kelly would all make the trip to Germany.

"We’ve not really touched on the goalkeeping situation, but we will have the conversation for sure," he said.

'No fear' in deploying Doak

Uncapped Doak has not played in 2024 and has only recently resumed training at Liverpool following knee surgery in December.

"Nothing phases him," Carver said of the 18-year-old. "He’s fit into the group straight away. It’s like he’s been here for 10 years. If we have to rely on him, we don’t fear that.

"He’s different because he has pace. We have a really good team but we don’t have a great deal of pace in the final third.

"Against the top sides, to try and open something up, he might just do that.

"We have adapted the style of play because of the players we have, but he’s different. He could come on with 20 minutes to go and do something special that can get a point for us, or three points."