COMMENT by John Reid
Scotland’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup can be put down to many reasons, but one of the main factors was then manager Gordon Strachan’s refusal to pick Celtic players for most of the campaign.
Whilst Celtic were going through the season unbeaten and giving Manchester City a game in the Champions League, Strachan didn’t select the likes of Stuart Armstrong, who had the best season of his career, and mostly kept Leigh Griffiths on the bench.
Strachan belatedly saw the error of his ways, and now the likes of Armstrong and Griffith have become first-team regulars, but it came too late to save his job.
With a new era for Scotland beginning on Thursday night against the Netherlands, the new manager (whoever that may be) should ensure that a core of Celtic players are first choice for the national team.
Celtic are currently 63 domestic games unbeaten and the confidence of the players has been sky-high since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, who has immeasurably improved the form of players who are Scotland squad regulars, a fine example being that of Callum McGregor.
McGregor wasn’t even a first pick at Celtic not long ago, but under Rodgers his football improved so much there was outraged when he was picked for Scotland and even more outrage when he was picked but didn’t play a minute over two games.
The likes of Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths are more than capable of forming a nucleus of team that can take Scotland to the promised land of Euro 2020.
In other Celtic news, Callum McGregor has paid tribute to a Celtic legend