At every major tournament there is always a player that appears, almost from nowhere, to make the squad, for the last 20-odd years we’ve been watching from the outside as England pick the likes of Theo Walcott but finally, we will see a Scotland team on the biggest stage – and the posturing for places has already begun.
Let’s be honest, this isn’t a great Scotland team, far from it, but there are enough players playing in the Premier League to at least make it competitive, a few decent central defenders and at least one competent striker would go along way in bridging the gap to the continent’s best though.
The other position up for grabs is right-back, Stephen O’Donnell has been Steve Clarke’s “teacher’s pet” because of their time together at Kilmarnock – his form certainly does’t merit inclusion – with Liam Palmer of Sheffield Wednesday also getting the odd game.
Ross McCrorie and Ryan Jack have been mentioned as potential options but Clarke should take a leaf out of Gareth Southgate’s book and promote from within the Scotland youth set-up by taking the realistic long-term future of the position – Nathan Patterson.
If it wasn’t for the captain and fittest player in the country being ahead of him in the queue for Rangers there is every chance that Patterson would already have played enough games to be considered, but he is having to be patient, however, his 45 minute cameo against Royal Antwerp and a commanding, mature performance against Livingston suggested that his ceiling is an awful lot higher than any of the previous incumbents under Clarke.
Should Patterson "be on the plane"?
With Scotland preferring to play with three central defenders, the full-backs/wing-backs have to be able to both defend and attack – the very expectations of a Rangers full-back – he may still be just a teenager but there is no doubt that he is the natural successor to James Tavernier and plenty of players have played for their country whilst seeing very little action for their clubs, fortune favours the brave, get Patterson on the plane.