Ben Doak set for Scotland debut as Steve Clarke admits he CAN'T replace Lyndon Dykes

Steve Clarke is stewing over calling up another striker but the Scotland boss admits Lyndon Dykes is irreplaceable.

The frontman suffered a devastating Euros blow after suffering an ankle injury in training in Glasgow last week. Clarke insisted he’s not going to make any snap decision on whether to draft in another attacker – with just Che Adams and Lawrence Shankland up top, along with uncapped teen Ben Doak.

The gaffer could call on under 21 hitman Tommy Conway – and Ross Stewart is also an option after getting back to fitness at Southampton for the final few games of the season. But Clarke – who will send out a much-changed side against Gibraltar in Portugal tonight – admitted losing Dykes is major disappointment. He said: “Nobody replicates what Lyndon brings. Lyndon brings what he does, what his qualities are. One of the best phone calls I have ever made as the head coach of Scotland was to Lyndon, right at the very start when he had the option of Scotland or Australia.

“Since then we have had a great relationship. Lyndon is devastated that he is not going but I am really disappointed myself that he is not going.

“It wasn’t good. It was quite near the end of the session as well, which always seems to hurt a little bit more. We just stopped the session after that, there was no point in carrying on.

“It was just the way he landed on his ankle. That was it. No connection with any player. He was trying to get on the end of a cross and it was just the way he landed. He is a key player for us on the pitch and also a key member of the squad off the pitch. We will certainly miss him.

“I have got a couple of days so will have a think about what to do. What is the best for the group, for the team and take it from there. The reason is taking a little bit of time is so I can think about everything, the whole picture. The 21’s is an area where we will look, for sure, but there are other options out there.”

Clarke is set to give Doak some time on the pitch against Gibraltar – but he wants to cool down expectations the Liverpool kid could be the nation’s Euro wildcard. The Scotland boss now has just one more spot to cut to get his squad down to 26 for Germany and Doak has not played since getting crocked with the Reds last December.

Clarke said: “Listen, Ben is in the squad to gain experience, to work with us. He has been out for four and a half months so let’s not put too much on Ben. He has trained for a couple of days – he didn’t train today just as part of his return to play, this was a day off his feet.

“He will be available, maybe some minutes off the bench. But let’s keep Ben in the right place. Let’s not over hype or over push him. Let’s do it properly.”

Clarke has already lost Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson and Lewis Ferguson on top of Dykes and has several others with knocks or limited game time in recent months. But he said: “It’s OK. Part and parcel of the job, part and parcel of football. We will deal with it and move on. That’s what you have to do.

“I’m not really sure why there would be any negativity. The worst we can do in the campaign is the same as every other Scottish team which has qualified for a tournament.

“We have qualified for two out of three tournaments, got to a playoff in the other one. We are not in too bad a place.”