Steve Clarke must surely name uncapped midfielder Billy Gilmour in his Euro 2020 Scotland squad tomorrow afternoon and should pick the outstanding David Turnbull ahead of the out-of-form Leigh Griffiths.
With experienced middle-men Kenny McLean and Ryan Jack injured, Clarke will first turn to John Fleck but will need another ‘Number 6’ in his squad and after his recent stand-out performance in Chelsea’s victory over Manchester City, Gilmour has to be in the running.
The former Rangers youngster possesses that rare ability of trying to keep the ball whilst looking for that forward pass.
The previous squad named in March consisted of 25 players, so the expanded 26 man squad for the Euro’s offers an extra space for an attacking player.
Turnbull was named PFA Young Player of the Year for the second time this week and has been a bright spark in a dark season for Celtic.
His nine goals and six assists should make him a shoe-in, although another actual forward might be preferred.
Griffiths has scored eight times this season but has been battling with his fitness all campaign and every time he looked set to kick-on, he dropped out again.
Lawrence Shankland, Oliver Burke and Callum Paterson all featured last year, but will struggle to make the grade now after underwhelming club campaigns, whilst Ryan Gauld has been a revelation in the Portuguese top flight but 16 goal contributions seems to have failed to grab the attention of the manager.
Turnbull offers something different from the Number 10 position and despite his inexperience, he is the obvious wildcard choice.
Newcastle’s, Ryan Fraser is carrying a groin injury and his club boss Steve Bruce claimed it would be a gamble to take him, but he is a risk worth taking, whilst James Forrest is set for his first call up in six months despite only starting four games in 2021.
The three out-and-out strikers pick themselves. QPR’s Lyndon Dykes has returned to form lately, scoring six in his final eight games of the season. Che Adams scored against the Faroe Islands in his first international spell and has two in his last two, whilst Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet has 18 goals this season.
Elsewhere, goalkeepers David Marshall, Craig Gordon and Jon McLaughlin offer strong competition for one another. Marshall is favourite to start but any would provide a solid backbone to the team.
Clarke is certain to go with his preferred five at the back formation, meaning 10 defenders will be included.
Stephen O’Donnell has never let the national team down and is first choice, whilst Liam Palmer is set to hold off stiff opposition from Rangers teenager Nathan Patterson, who was impressive in the few games he played and will be unlucky to miss out, but being suspended for the last four matches of the season did him no favours.
Jack Hendry gives the team a ball playing right sided defender, whilst Championship winning Norwich City captain Grant Hanley will certainly be at the heart of the defence.
The former Kilmarnock boss is likely to be loyal to Declan Gallagher, Scott McKenna and Andy Considine, although Leeds United skipper Liam Cooper could force his way back in.
This summer could come too soon for 22 year old, Ryan Porteous.
The left footed trio of captain Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Greg Taylor have been ever presents under Clarke and will not miss out now. Midfield has long been Scotland’s greatest strength.
Freshly crowned SFWA player of the year John McGinn may be the current star, but Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie will all have a big say at the tournament.
When the Czech Republic visit Hampden Park on June the 14 th , Clarke will have plenty of options for his starting XI and by selecting both Gilmour and Turnbull, he can bring a sense of excitement, freshness and extra competition to the group.
I think we have enough genuine ability in this team to get us to the knockout stages.
POSSIBLE SCOTLAND SQUAD: