HANDS UP who is glad that the International break is now over? And who is delighted that there won’t be another one until March next year? Yep, us too. However our hardy photographer Geo was at Hampden last night, despite the cold, rain and the apparent lack of interest from the Tartan Army and he has captured these photographs of the four Celts and three former Bhoys in Steve Clarke’s side in Scotland’s 3-1 win over Kazakhstan.
Here is the starting line-up from Hampden.
Left back Greg Taylor got his second assist in two games and put forward a compelling argument that he could be played more by Neil Lennon – so far this season he’s had two caps but just one game for Celtic. And Steve Clarke, who knows Taylor well from their time at Kilmarnock, will be aware of Arsenal’s reluctance to allow Kieran Tierney to join up with Scotland – he’s pulled out of the last two squads despite being fit enough to play. Skipper Andy Robertson, the first pick of the three left backs, also missed this squad although could be available for Liverpool at the weekend.
Both Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie will surely be first picks for future Steve Clarke Scotland sides along with John McGinn who has now scored more goals for the national side than Charlie Nicholas managed in his entire career. Many supporters still think that McGinn could and should have been the natural successor to Scott Brown in the Celtic team and he’ll always be regarded as the one that got away.
James Forrest, almost single-handedly won Scotland’s place in the Play-offs with his five goals in four days against Albania and Israel last November. Last night he was the brightest player down the left hand side alongside club team-mate Taylor and was unlucky not to create an opener on quite a few occasions.
Forrest was brutally hacked down just before the interval and it looked like he’d become an injury casualty which would have been terrible news for Celtic.
Former Celt, David Marshall continued in goals and although he had very little to do he had no chance with the stunning opener for the visitors.
Two other former Celts involved last night were substitutes Oli Burke – who was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty and Stuart Armstrong. Some observed on social media that ‘His hair is fine, he comes on in injury time’ which was rather witty.
Here are some more pics of the Bhoys at Hampden last night…
Steve Clarke talked up John McGinn after the match, and no wonder. “John’s on a fantastic run of form.
“He has been great for Aston Villa for the last couple of seasons and he is starting to bring it onto the international stage. It’s very important to remember he is still in the early stages of his international career,” the Scotland boss told the Media, as reported by Scottish Sun.
“The more games you play at this level, the better you become. The more experience you get, the better the team will become. When you’ve got any player in goalscoring form that’s good for any team.
“John is the man scoring the goals right now and hopefully we’ll get one or two more that can to that as well. But we’ve found a good position for John. He’s playing it very well,” Clarke said.
“We knew if we made mistakes in possession, Kazakhstan could hurt us on the counter-attack which they did when they took the lead. But it was a great reaction, in the second half particularly.
“We played a lot of good stuff and created a lot of chances. Nine shots on target is good. It’s another win, three in a row. The boys are feeling good about themselves.
“Football is a 95 or 97 minute game and you have to build into the game. We managed to up the tempo at the start of the second half.
“We moved the ball a little bit quicker, got behind them better and created more chances.”
Here are the highlights from last night’s 3-1 win.