What is the criteria for getting picked for the Scotland squad at the moment? Let me tell you what it clearly isn’t; it clearly isn’t merit, because the decision to snub Tony Ralston, even with other players not available for selection (more on that later) is ridiculous.
I like Steve Clarke, but I wonder at times about how he views certain players.
Take the idiotic decision to keep on playing “Rangers daft” Ollie McBurnie, when everyone who’s watched him knows this guy shouldn’t be near an international team, and probably not even a football pitch.
He seems to have based it on the guy having commanded big transfer fees.
It was certainly not anything to do with his ability to score goals.
There are keepers with better games to goal ratios.
Reputation alone seems to do it at times, and there are other times when I think he picks players from smaller clubs just so that he can say he has.
Clarke wants to get Scotland away from the Glasgow-centric selection policy which has blighted so many of his predecessors. It’s understandable.
But it’s also incoherent. It wasn’t bias that saw so many Celtic players make up Gordon Strachan’s team over and over again; they were the best in the country, used to playing together, and they were winning absolutely everything.
It would not have been pro-Glasgow bias to call Anthony Ralston up. It would have been an acknowledgment that he is the most improved player in Scotland, that he has been excellent for Celtic domestically and in Europe since Ange took over.
Nobody would have questioned it. Nobody would have criticised it. It seems bizarre not to include him, even now, with so many players unavailable. It seems, to be honest, quite preposterous because he deserves to be in the Scotland team.
The snub is unbelievable. What does Ralston have to do to get appreciation?
He hasn’t just been good; he has been outstanding.
Aside from showing great skill and proving himself a player, Ralston has also shown commendable mental fortitude in being able to play through an entire transfer window of rumours about who was going to replace him.
No other player in Scotland endured a summer like it.
He has come through in fine style and wholly deserves not only credit but the recognition that goes with it.
In some ways of course I’m glad we’re here.
The fewer Celtic players are taking part in international fixtures right now the less we have to worry about injuries and other issues. Still, it grates somewhat because Ralston has put up with a lot of stuff over the last few years and the least he has earned is a place in the Scotland squad.
Steve Clarke is leaving out one of the best players in the country right now … and we’re entitled to ask if players aren’t being selected on merit, just what is the criteria for picking them?