Scotland vs Croatia set to go ahead despite England boss Gareth Southgate’s Covid fears

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The Scottish FA are confident that all COVID-19 rules and regulations have been fully adhered to and Scotland boss Steve Clarke will have all of his players bar Billy Gilmour available against Croatia on Tuesday night, BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour has said.

Scotland’s preparations for their decisive final Group D match, which they need to win to stand a chance of progression to the next round, have been thrown into disarray after news broke on Monday that Gilmour had tested positive for Covid.

Gilmour was the stand-out performer on his first Scotland start as the Tartan Army drew 0-0 with England at Wembley on Friday night.

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England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, who were shown in close contact with Chelsea team-mate Gilmour after full-time, have both been told to isolate.

It is currently unclear whether the pair will be given the green light to face Czech Republic in a match where England must be victorious to finish top of the group.

England boss Gareth Southgate raised fears about the close interaction between Gilmour and his Scotland team-mates in the dressing room.

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He said in his pre-match press conference: “I don’t want to cause a drama for Scotland but if you’re all in the dressing room together, where does everything stand? I don’t know is the honest answer to that.

“Medical people are dealing with all of this. We have to accept whatever the situation is and adapt to it. That’s the world we’re all living it.”

But Scotland, per Barbour, are confident that their match will go ahead at Hampden Park without any issues.

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She said on the BBC’s coverage of Belgium vs Finland: “Billy Gilmour receiving the news no player wants to hear this morning. The good news is he’s asymptomatic and physically he’s feeling OK.

“Obviously a huge disappointment. The medical staff have not identified any close contacts so Steve Clarke does have 25 players to choose from for this crunch match against Croatia.

“It’s not the first time Scotland have dealt with positive. John Fleck tested positive in the pre-tournament training camp in Spain.

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“On that occasion six players missed a warm-up match against the Netherlands but that case seemed to be contained. The hope will be that this will have the same outcome.

“There is a pressure for all of us lasting a month. We have tests every three years and it adds psychological pressure and uncertainty.”

While Scotland boss Steve Clarke said: “Obviously training was a little bit disrupted but the bulk of the work has been done over the pre-camp and the training days earlier in the tournament.

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“The only spanner it throws into the works is that Billy would have started the game and now he won’t, so it’s a chance for someone else to come into the team and make themselves a national hero.

“He’s upset, as you would expect. He has no symptoms, so hopefully his health will hold up and he will get back to playing as quickly as possible.

“It’s not my department [how he contracted COVID]. My department is getting the team ready for an absolutely massive game against Croatia and that’s what I have been concentrating on.

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“The medical team I have got around me are good people and they deal with that side of the issue.”

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