STEVE CLARKE already has a small place in the Hampden record books to be proud of but he is more concerned with making history than reflecting on it these days.

Scotland’s victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday night took Clarke’s side four points clear at the top of their Nations League section and was the eighth game on the spin in which they have avoided defeat.

The last time such a run was put together, Clarke was just starting out as a Scotland player. His debut against Hungary in 1987 was the first match of the sequence, which came to an end the following year at the hands of England.

Ultimately, that unbeaten run wasn’t enough to secure a place at the European Championships. If Clarke’s side can surpass it, then that is exactly what their reward will be.

The play-off win over Israel was the most significant of the three that Scotland recorded over the last few days and now Clarke has time to reflect on a job well done as attentions turn to the make-or-break fixture with Serbia next month.

“I knew somebody would find that stat eventually,” Clarke said. “I was actually involved in five out of the eight games on that run.

“There are a couple of dodgy draws in there against Saudi and Malta but for me it was a proud moment to make my debut in a 2-0 victory against Hungary, a 2-0 victory in the next match against Belgium and then an away win in Bulgaria which allowed the Republic of Ireland to qualify for the finals.

“It was nice to be involved in that run as a player but it is nicer to be involved in this run as the head coach.

“Hopefully we do and we make it nine games unbeaten because if we do that we will be going to Euro 2020. I am going to have two or three days to go away and relax and chill out, nothing too much about Covid and bubbles!

“I will chill out for a few days and then full speed ahead for the analysis on Serbia and make sure we get the tactics, squad selection and team selection right and hopefully at the end of the three matches we are still smiling.”

Had circumstances been different, Clarke and his players would have had a raucous Hampden crowd beaming from ear to ear once again on Wednesday night as Ryan Fraser netted the only goal of the game.

Scotland have built some real momentum in recent times and their exploits against Israel, Slovakia and the Czechs have raised the spirits of supporters. That is an achievement in itself for Clarke.

“It is good,” he said. “We want the Tartan Army to feel good about themselves, we want them to be proud and optimistic.

“It is not really for me to judge that. when things aren’t going too well or we are getting criticised, we don’t comment on that. If people want to praise us that is great, if they want to criticise when things aren’t going well, that is part and parcel of the job.

“We focus on what we can do to affect it and that is to make ourselves a better team, a more resilient team and try and win matches for the country.”

Clarke will be able to look back on three significant wins from this international schedule but it was a camp that was not without its issues as injuries and Covid regulations played their part and ruled the likes of Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie out of action.

The performances from striker Lyndon Dykes were a real positive to take, while defender Andy Considine became an unexpected success story as he impressed on his international debut.

“Absolutely, and that is what I asked them to do,” Clarke said when asked if some players had given him decisions to make going forward.

“I asked them to make it difficult for me and they have done that. Andy Considine on Saturday didn’t have a cap, now he has two caps and two clean sheets.

“Paul Hanlon at 31, sat out the Hibs game at the weekend with a niggle and now he has a cap. He has waited a long time for that and moments like that are really important.

“We presented the first caps to all the boys that have earned them recently and for Lyndon, Andy and Paul, it is particularly poignant.”

If the coming days will give Clarke a chance to relax after an intense period of action, the weeks that follow will be the most important of his Scotland tenure thus far.

Trips to Slovakia and Israel next month will round off the Nations League campaign but it is the final with Serbia that is potentially historic. When it comes, there will be an opportunity for a national hero to emerge.

Clarke said: "I said to the players in the dressing room, 'Everyone has to be ready'. I said 'When you go back to your clubs tell your mates they have to be ready too'.

"You never know in this period, when the virus could hit you at any time, so they all have to be ready.

"When we beat Israel, we were determined to keep a lid on things and focus on the Nations League. Now we have maximum points we can look ahead to Serbia.”