STEVE Clarke last night insisted Scotland have a bright future to look forward to despite losing 1-0 to Israel in Netanya and missing out on a Qatar 2022 play-off place – if they can be more clinical up front.

The national team conceded a Manor Solomon goal just before half-time in their final Nations League match in the Diamond Stadium and were unable to haul themselves back into the match in the second-half.

The Czech Republic defeated Slovakia 2-0 in Plzen to leapfrog Scotland into first place Group B2 and give themselves a potential safety net if they fail to qualify for the next World Cup.

However, Clarke, whose team reached their first major finals since France ’98 last week when they beat Serbia in the Euro 2020 play-off final in Belgrade, is still upbeat after another encouraging all-round performance by his men.

“The first thing to say is we are all disappointed with the way the week has finished,” he said.

“It was a historic week for Scottish football, it had been a long time since we had qualified for a major tournament.

“There was no lack of endeavour. It was probably the same as Sunday (Scotland lost 1-0 to Slovakia in Trnava). There was probably a lack of quality in the final third of the pitch. We made chances and couldn’t get the goal.

“If we want to keep improving and getting better and taking the national team forward, and I think you see from the effort and endeavour of the players in the last two games that we do and that can’t be questioned, we have to be a little bit more clinical and make better choices in the final third of the pitch."

Clarke added: “In the space of just over a year we have come and long way and we shouldn’t forget that.

“I think that is really important that we don’t forget that. It is really important that we don’t go back to the negativity that we had around the national side before. We have a lot to look forward to.

“But we know how far we need to go to regularly qualify for tournaments. We have to learn how to go away from home and get results. We got good results at Hampden last month and we have to learn how to do that away from home too.

“Slovakia is a difficult country to go to, Israel is a different country to go to, good team. We have to be better, we have to improve.”

Despite his satisfaction at the strides forward that Scotland have made during his tenure, Clarke admitted he was annoyed not to top Group B2 and secure a possible play-off place.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity,” he said. “We had to pick up three points from two difficult away games. But we expected to get the points required. So it’s an opportunity missed.

“I want the players to go away disappointed that they’ve lost two games. They’re professional and they have to know we want to win these games. We have to learn how to get points in difficult places like Slovakia and Israel, away from home.

“But I told them all to take away the fact that they’ve created a bit of history for Scottish football, getting us to the Euros. I want to forget about the Euros now. They have to go and do well for their clubs – then we have the World Cup draw.

“When we get to March, it’s a slightly unusual situation in that we have three massive World Cup qualifiers for Qatar 2022 before we get to the Euros. So we have to forget about that. The achievement will be there for us next summer.”