Euro 2020 semi-final play-off

Covid blow for Scots as stars sit out crunch clash

Steve Clarke

Concern: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)

Scotland have suffered a major blow on the eve of their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel with the news that Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie will all miss Thursday’s match.

Southampton’s Armstrong has tested positive for Covid-19, while the other two players must self-isolate for 14 days after being identified as close contacts. They will also miss the upcoming Nations League matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Midfielder Armstrong initially tested negative after arriving at the Scotland camp on the outskirts of Edinburgh on Monday. A subsequent UEFA test came back positive, though, which meant self-isolation for 10 days from Tuesday.

Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell said the rest of Steve Clarke’s squad had “returned two rounds of negative tests” ahead of the make-or-break tie at Hampden Park.

RB Salzburg's Takumi Minamino (left) chases down Celtic's Ryan Christie

Out: Ryan Christie

A team masseur and a physiotherapist are also self-isolating after being classified as close contacts.

“While this is obviously disappointing news the most important thing is the health and safety of the individuals involved and the wider group,” said Clarke, who will also be without Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke for all three games through injury.

Christie will also miss Celtic’s game against Rangers on October 17, while team-mate Edsonne Edouard is a major doubt for the Parkhead clash after testing positive for Covid while on duty with France U21s.

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