Steve Clarke insists Scotland will bounce back after they exited Euro 2020 with a 3-1 defeat by Croatia at Hampden Park.

The Scots, playing in their first major tournament since the 1998 France World Cup, needed a victory in their final Group D fixture and had gone into the interval with renewed optimism after Callum McGregor's strike after 42 minutes had cancelled out Nikola Vlasic's 17th-minute opener for the Croats.

However, just after the hour mark, captain Luka Modric restored Croatia's lead with a stunning strike before Ivan Perisic headed in a third in the 77th minute to clinch a deserved win to take the 2018 World Cup finalists into the last-16 with Scotland finishing bottom of the section with just one point and one goal from three matches.

Afterwards Clarke revealed his emotions, saying: "It is just disappointing that we are out. We wanted to stay in the tournament as long as we could. Disappointed that we haven't managed to get out of the group stage.

"You have to give me tonight to get over that and in a few days we will sit down, we will take stock.

"I will look at my performance and the players' performances and we will look at what we can do better in the future and we will make sure it is not 23 years before we go to the next tournament."

Scotland manager Steve Clarke watching his side against Croatia


Clarke was impressed by Croatia for whom Modric was immense. He said: "Hopefully they will take what you saw from Croatia tonight which is third game experience.

"They knew how to play the third game in a tournament, they were more ready than we were. We couldn't hit the levels of Friday night against England so lots to learn for everybody, head coach included.

"We tried as hard as we could, we tried to get back in even at 2-1 and then conceded a third one from a set play which is disappointing.

"We are disappointed the tournament has ended early for us but we have a lot to be happy about, the way we got there after 23 years.

"We have a lot to be happy about, the way we approached the tournament, we tried to compete, tried to play as well as we could but unfortunately it was not quite good enough to get out the group stage and to the knockout round."

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic felt his side were worthy winners after qualifying in second place.

"We knew it was a matter of time before we scored the second goal, and then the third followed," Dalic said.

"It was not easy, especially after a difficult 10 days of pressure. But I would like to thank everyone that supported us and believed in us."

Scotland captain Andy Robertson insisted that it couldn't be 23 years before Scotland returned to a major tournament in his post-match interview.

"It's a massive disappointment," Robertson told ITV4. "Croatia showed why they got to a World Cup final.

"When we got them to 1-1 we had them for five minutes but half-time came at a bad time.

"Modric ran the game and scored a wonderful goal and that's why we fell short. But we've felt the love from the whole country and we hope it continues.

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"We're one of the newbies to this, it's been a long time coming and all of us will gain experience. We've all learned from this.

"We are a squad with a lot of potential and it's important we build on this. We're a good team on our day. We can't go another 23 years."

Scotland's other star full-back Kieran Tierney - who sat out the first game against Czech Republic through injury - admitted they were up against after the opening loss but expressed the hope that qualification this time around was the beginning of something.

"It's hard to say. I think we'd have liked to get off to a better start and it was an uphill battle from that game.

"But we can hold our heads up high with the effort and the commitment.

"We played against three amazing teams who have been in tournament football a lot more than us and have a lot more experience of games like tonight's. I think that showed.

"But (the scenes at the end) shows we were all in it together tonight, throughout the tournament. The support has been fantastic, we're all very grateful for that.

"We did our best to make the fans proud. But it wasn't to be.

"Is this the start of something rather than the end? That's the aim. That's what the manager said and that's the message he wanted to get across - that it's not the end for this group of boys and this squad.

"It's just the beginning of us qualifying for tournaments more and more and giving the fans more to celebrate and cheer for and I'm sure the boys will give absolutely everything to make the fans and the manager proud in the future.

"We will learn, for sure. Tonight was a big learning curve for us all. Croatia had been there before, plenty of times, and with the quality they've got it showed tonight and we just have to learn from stuff like that because the way they played made it hard for us to get going."