The 2022 World Cup has “got to be the target” for Scotland from their Nations League campaign, says Steve Clarke.
The Scots have sealed a place at next summer’s European Championship after winning through the play-offs from the previous Nations League tournament.
Clarke’s side top their group before Sunday’s fixture in Slovakia on Sunday, with a win there – or in Israel on Wednesday – enough to win the section.
“The players understand the importance of the next games,” said Clarke.
“The next pathway from the Nations League can be to the World Cup in Qatar 2022 and that’s got to be the target as well.
“Everyone involved with the Scottish team should realise we’re in Euro 2020 because of the Nations League pathway. It’s a very important tournament for us.”
Celebrations continued long into the night following the momentous Euros play-off final win on penalties over Serbia on Thursday.
And head coach Clarke anticipates a number of changes for Sunday’s game after a gruelling night in Belgrade, with striker Lyndon Dykes banned and captain Andy Robertson one of several injury doubts.
However, he stressed the post-match festivities would not impact player availability.
“The celebrations stopped on the night,” Clarke said. “They broke up naturally. It was a good celebration but it wasn’t crazy, nothing over the top.
“But it was a physically draining game, emotionally also – very, very draining for the players who were out there on the pitch.
“I’ll speak to three or four players I’ve maybe got a doubt about going again after such a tough game and then I’ll come up with a team selection that hopefully brings us another three points.”
Slovakia had their own celebrations after securing a Euros place with an extra-time win over Northern Ireland in Belfast, also on Thursday.
“I think both teams will probably be in a similar frame of mind, and both teams physically will be on a similar pattern,” added Clarke.
If Scotland avoid defeat in Trnava, they will equal a record that has stood for almost 100 years.
The last time the national side went 10 games unbeaten was between March 1924 and February 1927, all of which were against the other home nations.
“It’s an impressive statistic but we haven’t done 10 games,” Clarke said.
“I understand why managers say records aren’t important. It’s about what we achieved on Thursday night – tangible rewards like going to a major tournament.”