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Tony Ralston Last Night Proved What A Lot Of Celtic Fans Already Know.

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Wasn’t that the quintessential Scotland performance last night? We did well … up to a point. Then we took the sawed-off double barrel shotgun out of the bag and shot ourselves in the foot with it. It was a friendly, sure, but we’ve seen this story before. Over and over again. If this was a movie franchise, we’d be well into double figures by now.

I feel bad for Craig Gordon, making his final appearance for the national team. I wish the big guy well, as all of us do. He was a great servant not just to Scotland but, of course, to Celtic as well. The big lad probably left Celtic a year too soon, but that was a decision which was as much to do with our club actually stupidly as it was about him.

Of the players who had good games last night I thought one stood out, and it was a surprise to many of the commentary team and might even have been a surprise to some of the Tartan Army. But that Anthony Ralston can actually play a bit would have come as no surprise whatsoever to a lot of the Celtic fans, who have long understood that.

Ralston might be the unluckiest player in the world when it comes to his time here. Like Greg Taylor, he’s been the subject of constant speculation all the way, but he’s been unluckier than Taylor in that we’ve found two very good players – in Juranovic and then in Johnston – who have come in and made the right back slot their own.

But something about Ralston has long intrigued me and it’s this; if Johnston was injured and we had the choice of playing Tavernier or Ralston, I would take Tony Ralston every day and twice on Sunday. He’s the better of the two at the defensive side of the game by a distance, and what I thought he showed for Scotland last night is how good he is going forward too.

Ralston is young, solid, determined and aggressive. But rarely is he reckless. Those are great qualities to have in a defensive player and he’s a very good backup for us. At the same time, I think he’s shown that he’s the best natural right back that Scotland has got, and Clarke can mess about with alternatives who only serve to prove the theory or he can acknowledge it as a fact.

I think after last night, a lot of the Tartan Army will be more than willing to do so.

Whatever else might have gone wrong for the Scotland squad in the run-up to this tournament, the right back question at least now looks like it has an answer, and who knew that the answer might lie at Celtic Park with Ralston?

A lot of us did, actually. Welcome, Steve Clarke, to the club. At last.

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  • Bob (original) says:

    Yes, only a warm up but…

    Clarke set up the team as 3-4-2-1,

    at home and against Iceland?!

    Iceland, away from home playing 4-3-3.

    No confidence this Euro’s will be any better than our dismal,

    defensive efforts last time.

    And Clarke bringing on a player in our last preparation game,

    for sentimental reasons, is just ridiculous, imo.

  • Jim meechan says:

    Yes James absolutely right and he can cross a ball as well

  • Jim Duffy says:

    I thought Ralston was excellent last night ,he’s a good defender but by god can he motor up the park and get decisive crosses slung into the box where they hurt.i was very impressed with him and kept thinking back to that time he laughed straight into neymars face .

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ JD. Is that after they done us 6-0 at CP.

      • Jim Duffy says:

        Yes I know they cuffed us Kevin but Ralston kept on going even when neymars was rubbing it in big time,I think he gestured to neymar it was 3 -0 at the time ,but Ralston was just laughing at his theatrical rolling about in agony every time some one went near him.

        • Kevan McKeown says:

          @ JD. Aye tho my point bein, what has that tae dae with TR’s football ability, which the ‘debate’ is about ?! Bit of perspective needed there ah think. Btw my mistake, it was 5-0, no 6.

  • John says:

    I would happily play Ralston, dependable and good crosser of the ball, could even play on the wing not necessarily just a RB

  • James White says:

    Ralston is a journeyman pro who should be nowhere near a Celtic jersey.
    Second choice under both Ange and Rodgers. Only on the payroll to fulfill euro quota requirements. His continued presence in the matchday squad only highlights the poverty of quality at youth level.
    Quality opposition tend to expose all the deficiencies in Ralston’s game.

    • Stef says:

      Very well said, he should be nowhere near getting a game for Celtic. What I will give him is he has guts and a bit of drive about him that’s got him this far, but a very limited footballer in my and a lot of others opinion.

  • David Andrew says:

    Unfortunately the people keeping young Tony from the starting eleven have more pace than him

  • The Joker says:

    Sevco have put the blockers on the new sponsorship deal with William Hill as it clashes with the deal they have with 32RED on their shirts,another deal SCUPPERED once again by sevco.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      We should be putting the blockers on that as well Joker, doesn’t this clash with dafabet,our shirt sponsor.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Worth notin who the opposition were. Tony’s a decent back up player for the SPL, tho would be out his depth against bigger euro opponents.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Ralston is a handy lad to have around the place at Parkhead for sure…

    Wheather he’d hang around without too much game time is altogether another matter –

    But definitely a useful fella to have around the place if he stays !

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    Glad you brought this subject up James. In my opinion the poor lad has been in the shadows for far too long. I have yet to see Ralston have a bad game for us. Yes there’s times when he’s had average games but there’s times when he’s been excellent as well but I can’t remember watching him and at the end of a game saying he was awful.

    I happen to think defensively he is the best defending right back we have at the club. His main weakness is a slight lack of pace. And I have to disagree with @james white above, I think he more than deserves a Jersey and I’m delighted we have him as backup. And i have no shame in saying I see shades of the great Danny Mcgrain in him. I was proud for him last night and the performance he turned in and thought he was man of the match. A far better option for Clarke than McCrorie and even Patterson.

    On a side note, another thought had crossed my mind watching the game last night, was seeing Callum, Ralston, Tierney, Robertson, McGinn and Christie all in that team last night and thinking they all could have and should have been playing together in the hoops, what a spine of a team that would have been. Anyway I hope the lad goes and has a wonderful tournament. He deserves it for his perseverance alone.

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