A Storming Ralston First 45 For Scotland Shows Them What They’ve Been Missing.

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Every football team has a hard luck story to tell at some point in its development.

I am not saying that Scotland’s football destiny was decided when Steve Clarke left it so long before he gave Tony Ralston an international start, but you look at how piss poor they were in the game against Ukraine and then at his performance in the first half tonight and you wonder.

Because tonight he has been immense. He’s been the Tony Ralston we’ve been watching all these months, the Ralston that Clarke seemed determined to ignore.

I’ve been saying a while now that this guy would grab his chance when he got it, and has he ever done that tonight.

He has been brilliant from start to finish.

He has scored. He has crossed great balls into the box.

He has defended well. He has completed nearly every pass with accuracy.

He is playing with aggression and commitment, but no small degree of skill.

In short, he has been a revelation.

Whilst the national coach has messed about putting his former club player in that role and over promoting a former Ibrox youth, Ralston has been doing this week in, week out for Celtic after coming through a trying summer where he was constantly being told he was being replaced in our team. The mental fortitude it took … immense.

He has shown himself to be a footballer of quality. Of character.

He has shown himself capable of playing on the domestic club stage, then the European stage and now the international one too.

He is still young. He is still learning. For all that, I think we’re watching the emergence of a big, big talent and I am delighted by it and Scotland fans should be as well.

No more fumbling about, no more trying to stick square pegs in round holes.

No more embarrassment trying to make Nathan Patterson look like a good investment.

Scotland, Steve Clarke, this is your national team right back, now and for years to come.

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  • Nick66 says:

    Can’5 agree more James. I was bemused when Anthony was left back v Ukraine, – left back on the bench -, lol. However i had a feeling tonight when i heard SC saw sense and played a RB in the correct position. Hickey is a good LB and in time will be a talent, but he should never have been played in the RB role. Lesson learnt i hope Stevie.

  • Scud Missile says:

    Great article and not a mention of over inflated value of our player to bum him up they way the press do with sevco duds.

  • Jim says:

    At times it seemed like I was the only one who did, but I always thought he had it.

    Sure he was raw, and there were wayward passes from time to time, but the strength, pace and determination was evident, it just needed harnessing. Ange has made him into one the best overlapping full backs in the game.

    Yes it’s a pity Steve Clarke hesitated but that performance is the best way to make up a manager’s mind. The jersey is Ralston’s now.

    • Johnny Green says:

      Unfortunately Jim, he isn’t even the first choice for Celtic as Ange prefers his own signing, Juranovic, and that will probably reflect in Steve Clarke’s judgment of Tony. I myself cannot separate the Celtic RB choices as I have a high regard for both players and we are very lucky to have two top class right backs to choose from. Certainly he is the best Scottish right back in the SPL and he should be an automatic choice for the National team.

  • Peterbrady says:

    Where’s the bailiffs wheres the demolition of the auld hoor the sooner the better

  • MarkE says:

    Clarke said he felt this game would suit Ralston as he expected the Armenians to defend deep, and its that type of game plan Ralston’s used to playing against for Celtic.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dropped to the bench for Scotlands next match as Clarke has his own ideas of who to play and when; maybe a case of horses for courses in his mind, though Ralston imo looked better in that Right Back position than any other has in Scotlands ranks for a long time… he’ll certainly have caught the eye of club sides looking to bolster their defences fof the upcoming season!

    • Iljas Baker says:

      Agree entirely MarkA. I didn’t buy Clarke’s rationalization. He knows he should have played him against Ukraine. Tony Ralston is an enigma in a sense – he’s not a silky European type of player like Juranovic. His physique doesn’t allow this I guess and he will always come over as a bit of a “builder”. Yet he produces the goods on a regular basis: excellent defending (match saving at times), goals, assists and good crosses into the box. I hope he continues to develop at Celtic and his experience with the national team give him the belief that he is a top top player at all levels of the game.

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    Media bit slow to react regarding bids for ralston..Sevcos Bassey, has couple of good games and it’s reported every big European club lining up bids over £25M.
    Celtics Ralston, who’s had a really good season plenty assists and scoring at vital times for the Scottish Champions, now scoring for his country. Nothing no offers, not even a valuation, seem to remember Patterson being valued in press at over £20m after his scotland Debut.

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