After watching the Scotland v Armenia game last night, it was an absolute crime that Anthony Ralston wasn’t even in the squad for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.
Just what the hell was Steve Clarke thinking?
Aaron Hickey had absolutely no right to be starting that game, especially at right back.
I don’t care if the boy is playing in Serie A and apparently has high potential, he simply isn’t good enough for this level yet and isn’t better than other right backs currently in the international set up.
Ralston is a winner. He knows what it takes to play and perform well in high pressure matches, to win leagues and cups. He’s just spent the whole of last season doing that with Celtic.
With all due respect to Hickey, he’s plating for a bottom half team in Italy, and before that was playing for Hearts. He’s a 19 year old kid for crying out loud.
Clarke should be looking in the mirror and shaking his head at that decision.
One saving grace is Ralston has been getting a lot of praise from the Scottish media for his performance last night, and rightly so.
And no matter what Clarke says, that he doesn’t listen to pundits, he absolutely does.
Pundits weren’t happy that he continued with a back five against Ukraine with Tierney missing, and decisions like playing Scott McTominay in defence, and Clarke had a pop back it them saying these types of things have been successful in the past for us.
Yet after his defence of those decisions, Clarke switched to a back 3 against Armenia last night and dropped McTominay, bringing him on late in the second half and then playing him in his natural midfield role when he came on.
So Clarke clearly does listen to what the pundits are saying, which at least in the short term, should be good for Ralston as after his outstanding performance last night, many in the media won’t be happy if he ends up getting left out of the side again for lesser players and it ends up costing us.