Football

Australian-born Lyndon Dykes aims to be Scotland's hero

Clarke's men aiming to qualify for first major tournament since 1998

He might have been born in and spent much of his formative years in Australia, but Lyndon Dykes wants to be Scotland's hero by firing them to their first major tournament since 1998.

The Scots face fancied Serbia in a one-off Euro 2020 play-off final in Belgrade on Friday morning (Singapore time).

The winner will clinch a Euro 2020 Group D berth alongside England, Croatia and the Czech Republic, with the round-robin games to be played at Wembley and Hampden Park.

Steve Clarke's side are on their longest unbeaten run since 1988, having not lost in their previous eight matches, something Queens Park Rangers striker Dykes hopes will continue at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

He told Sky Sports: "I said when I first came in that I wanted to be a hero to the Tartan Army like 'Faddy' (James McFadden). And he said to me the other day, that this is a time when I could make that happen...

"Everyone wants to get Scotland back to a major tournament and this is the game that can do it... I haven't lost in a Scotland top yet, so hopefully we can keep it that way."

On his Australian roots, the Gold Coast-born 25-year-old, who has two goals from five caps, said: "It is very multi-cultural in Australia and I do have a lot of Serbian friends...

"I used to play with them, non-league and just mucking around, and now I am playing their nation in a massive game.

"Hopefully, I can score a couple of goals and then wind them up a little bit!"

Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish backed Liverpool fullback Andy Robertson to drive his country to the Euros, which were moved to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ballon d'Or runner-up in 1983, who won the English top flight both as a player and manager, told the Glasgow Times: "The most important thing is that the players have the belief in each other to do what they're doing. And, if they continue to do that, then they have a chance of winning this match.

"As for Andy, he's the leader. He's the one who would be getting the abuse if they weren't successful.

"Andy has probably sat back a wee bit and not been as adventurous with Scotland as what he is at Liverpool, simply because he understands the situation.

"That's great credit to him and to every one of the players, but more importantly, great credit to Steve Clarke."

Serbia, meanwhile, seemed to have overcome a scare after several of their Italy-based players linked up with the national team.

Italian media had reported that players from AS Roma and Fiorentina had been barred from leaving for international duty due to coronavirus infections at the clubs, while several other Serie A clubs were also reportedly affected by travel bans.

But Serbia coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic said star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio and captain Aleksandar Kolarov of Inter Milan are already "in our training camp".

He was less certain about the availability of Fiorentina pair Nikola Milenkovic and Dusan Vlahovic and highlighted that Bundesliga side Werder Bremen had barred Milos Veljkovic from joining up with the squad.

Tumbakovic told the BBC: "We have a big problem with Italian clubs. At this moment, I don't have the conclusive answer.

"This is the question that is problematic for the whole of Europe as the pandemic exploded."

Football