Date: 22nd August 2015
THE upcoming Euro qualifiers against Georgia and Germany in September will go a long way to deciding whether the Tartan Army will be descending on France once again for a major tournament next year.
Gordon Strachan’s side are on the brink of clinching a qualification or play-off spot. Much of the squads success is owed to continuity within the group, with Strachan desperate to maintain a domestic club atmosphere within the international side.
That being said, the gaffer has never been opposed to calling up in-form players, or looking to get youngsters in to take a closer look and let them gain experience of the national set-up.
With Callum Paterson, Ryan Gauld and Ryan Christie already called up to new coach Ricky Sbragia’s Under-21 side, Ben Ramage has looked at five Scots who did not make the full squad last time out but have excelled so far this season, which may see them make it into Mondays announcement.
Scott Bain – Dundee’s keeper has been in excellent form so far this season, helping them make an excellent start to their league campaign. The Dens Park stopper was called up for the last squad, but was cruelly denied his spot when he suffered a knee injury. Strachan has already spoken of his admiration of the 23-year-old, whose emergence has been likened to Craig Gordon as a youngster at Hearts.
Lee Wallace – Handed the captain’s armband by new gaffer Mark Warburton, Wallace has been in great form as Rangers have made a winning start to the season. His performances against Hibernian and St Mirren have been particular stand-outs, and his playing in the Championship has not hindered his selection in the past. With eight caps for the national side already, though, many would have tipped him for more in his younger years, the 28-year-old may benefit from Craig Forsyth’s less-than-confident performance against the Republic of Ireland and replace the Derby defender in the squad.
Matt Phillips – The powerful winger has continued his form from last season despite QPR struggling to adapt to life in the Championship this year. He scored two and set up the other in their first league win against Wolverhampton, and has been the subject of various Premier League clubs interest having made more assists than any other player last season in the English Premier League. His creativity and confidence in front of goal could see him add to his two caps for the national side.
Stuart Armstrong – Armstrong has been one of Celtics stand-out performers this year, showing the form that persuaded Ronny Deila to bring him to Celtic Park from Dundee United. He has notched two goals in the league already, but it is his impressive all-round performances in the Champions League which may persuade Strachan that he is ready to return to the national squad. He has made the squad before, back in 2013, but may struggle to get game time this time around in an already congested midfield. At just 23, though, it looks like Armstrong will force his way into the national side before long.
Jamie Walker – An outside chance, but Walker has been inspired as Hearts have rushed to the top of the Scottish Premier League on their return this season. His direct running and creativity could be vital in breaking down a stubborn Georgian defence, and his confidence will be sky high as the Jambos have continued their Championship winning form. Having made his way through all the younger national sides, including an excellent goal for the Under-21s, Walker may be the young player Strachan decides to take a closer look at this time around.
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Tags: Celtic, Championship, Dundee, EPL, Gordon Strachan, Hearts, Jamie Walker, Lee Wallace, Matt Phillips, QPR, Rangers, Scotland, Scott Bain, SFA, SPFL, Squad Announcement, Stuart Armstrong, Tartan Army