EYEBROWS were certainly raised on Friday evening when Steve Clarke announced his starting eleven of the the vital match against Russia and Scotland’s form player Ryan Christie was not in the side. It was a huge error for the new Scotland manager and after John McGinn had given Scotland an early lead, the Russians went on to deservedly win the match 2-1.
Christie eventually came on and his all action, high energy approach seemed to unsettle the visitors as Scotland searched for an equaliser. But even that was not enough for Clarke who now has an even tougher match this evening again at Hampden against the Number One ranked side in World football, Roberto Martinez’s Belgium superstars.
At least Christie looks like starting tonight and that alone may give Scotland some hope. However it is a match that not even the most optimistic members of the Tartan Army reckon can be won.
Christie’s own view is that Belgium might just be the perfect opponents given the mess Scotland currently find themselves in.
“Look, everyone knows we have to beat Belgium,” the Celtic star told the media, as reported by Scottish Sun.
“It’s a huge match and, while it sounds crazy, I think the fact that it’s Belgium probably helps us in a way.
“It’s such a big tie and everybody is going to be up for that.
“I don’t think there’s been much hangover from the Russia game because everybody wants to prove they can play against the best when they come to town.
“So while we were very emotional and devastated after the Russia game, it’s a quick turnover.
“We were back on the training ground on Saturday to look ahead to Belgium.”
Christie also tried desperately to find some positives from the woeful Scotland showing against Russia on Friday evening which left the Tartan Army in revolt.
“We didn’t really do it for 90 minutes against Russia, but I think we did show plenty of good attacking football in the game.
“Over the whole week, the way we’ve been training and the way the gaffer has been speaking, everyone is definitely buying into it.
“I think that’s what makes the Russia result even more gutting, because we had such a good feeling going into the game and it’s frustrating when you don’t get the result.”
Christie is sure to start tonight, Steve Clarke is too good a manager to make the same massive mistake twice in one long weekend, but the Celtic man isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I have no idea if I’ve done enough to start,” Christie said.
“Look, I will be delighted if I get the opportunity to play.
“I’m delighted every time I get a chance to pull on the jersey, so we’ll wait and see.
“The good thing is we have talent right through the whole squad just now.
“I’m sure everybody will be champing at the bit.”
ALSO ON THE CELTIS STAR…
Ex-Celts Rubbing It In – ‘Hope ripped away’, ‘Result shows why Celtic are Champions’, ‘Pathetic’ Rangers performance…see HERE.
‘How the Full Extent of Rangers’ Debt Finally Became Public,’ Stephen O’Donnell (Tangled Up in Blue)…see HERE.
‘Can I hire you to video my son’s party?’ Jonny Hayes’ homer offer to Scotty Sinclair…see HERE.