ROD Petrie, the SFA president, pledged last night to support Steve Clarke in whatever way possible ahead of the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

Thanks to our exploits in the Nations League under Alex McLeish, Scotland will host either Bulgaria, Romania or Israel on Thursday March 26, with a one-off home or away final against most likely Serbia or Norway the following Tuesday.

While it remains unclear whether the SFA intend to implement Fifa’s “five-day rule” to get tough on clubs such as Arsenal to ensure the release of players such as Kieran Tierney, the association will act to support Clarke’s hopes that none of his Scottish-based players will be in SPFL duty the Sunday before the match.

That issue would involve a lengthy discussion with both the SPFL and broadcasters SkySports and BT Sport and is complicated by the fact both Rangers and Celtic could be involved in Europa League action the Thursday before should they reach the last 16 stage, but Petrie insists the willpower on the SFA board – where SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has a seat - to give Clarke every chance to succeed.

The president even hinted the SFA could organise some kind of training camp ahead of those games, although the logistics of that – even during the January break - are even more problematic. Whatever happens, the arrangements will be chaotic for the Tartan Army too, who could face a mad three-day scramble to book tickets and away travel for Oslo or Belgrade.

“Somebody at Uefa told me there is a right time to ask a question,” said Petrie. “You shouldn’t ask it too early. You shouldn’t ask it too late. We are not at the time yet [to ask the question] for March 2020, broadcasters haven’t made their picks yet for that part of the campaign but once we finish this campaign we will start looking at the Nations League play offs and it is a great opportunity for us.

“I haven’t been part of those discussions yet but as I said earlier and said before it is all about getting ourselves in the right frame of mind and being as well prepared as we can be,” added the former Hibs chairman. “So if there is something like a camp, taking the players away, I am very open to having those conversations. Because four months is a long time.

“I have a strong board at the SFA now with strong representation from the league as well. There is a greater degree of cohesion and understanding. Clubs understand too that the more successful the national team can be that potentially brings more revenue into the association and that can funnel back to them. It is a win win situation for them. Everyone is desperate to get back to a finals. The prospect of Euro 2020, Glasgow hosting four games without Scottish interest is something that spurs us on.”

When it comes to alll this – including a crackdown on withdrawals – Petrie will be guided by Clarke. “The most important person in all this is Steve,” said Petrie. “Players play for the manager so the relationship between the country and the players is down to the manager. It is very easy to make assumptions. Okay, Kieran [Tierney] is not here and not available, but hopefully the way he is being managed means that he is going to be strong for us when we really need it in the heat of battle.

“The most important thing is that we sit down with Steve at the right time, work out how he is feeling about things, and what he wants to do," the president added. "I will support him in every way that I can to get the best possible team on the pitch and the best possible results. If he feels there is a way of managing things better or doing things we haven’t done before, we will be very open to supporting him.”

Petrie, meanwhile, admitted last night that Hampden Park is far from perfect when it comes to the supporter experience and insisted that a Celtic bid to host the 2030 World Cup could be the catalyst for completing an upgrade of the stadium. Discussions are at a formative stage with the FA, and their counterparts in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to bring the World Cup to these islands in 11 years’ time, although a rival bid from Spain and Portugal could emerge for the Uefa ticket. Ownership formally passes to the SFA from Queen’s Park after it hosts Euro 2020 this August and Petrie feels there is the creativity on the board to transform the matchday experience at this famous old Mount Florida stadium.

“We are not going to sit here and say it is perfect,” said Petrie, who is also on the verge of confirming a new protocol restricting young children heading footballs in training in the wake of recent findings about the link between professional football and dementia. “We have got what we have got. Decisions made in the past have delivered us with what it is. In terms of being European class there are enhancements which have been happening, whether it is big screens, sky boxes, digital turnstile access. These things are happening to make it a stadium which compares to the other 11 venues which are being used for Euro 2020. But the supporter experience, we are well aware it doesn’t score very highly on that, and that is the challenge.

“We are in discussions with other home associations about a 2030 World Cup bid which gives us a ten-year timeline to look at Hampden as a host of World Cup games in 2030,” he added. “By then we would all want to have a stadium which is entirely appropriate to the best country competition in the world.”