Even Celtic star Anthony Ralston sounds bemused with his latest Scotland snub
Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston admits that even he was surprised at being omitted from the Scotland squad for this month’s international break.
Steve Clarke incredibly decided not to call up the in-form Hoops defender. That’s despite the fact he’s been absolutely bossing it in what’s been a fantastic revival season at Parkhead.
Back in September, Clarke credited Ralston for his form and challenged him to stay in the Celtic team [PLZ]. That’s exactly what the Lennoxtown academy graduate has done. And despite being called up for November’s World Cup qualifying matches, he’s been laughably omitted from the squad for the upcoming friendly fixtures.
Instead, Nathan Patterson, a player with only 45 senior minutes in 2022, has been called up instead. And even Ralston himself sounded a touch surprised by the decision.
As quoted by Football Scotland, Ralston said: “I was a little bit. I feel that I have done well through the course of the season.
“I would have liked to have been involved in the squad but it is not to be at the minute. My main aim is to do my bit for Celtic and hopefully in time I will get that international recognition. These things are out of my control. The only thing in my control is my performances and my hard work.”
Anthony Ralston has every right to be scratching his head over Scotland omission
It’s no wonder Ralston showed some signs of frustration here. Normally a reserved character, even he needed to deliver a flicker of annoyance here. And no wonder given the season he’s had.
He continues to be a regular in the Celtic team sitting top of the Premiership and 3 points clear. Yet despite that, he’s being snubbed for a player who’s only appearance this year came against Boreham Wood.
That’s not to say Patterson isn’t a talent. But the truth is he just isn’t playing enough football and it sends out the wrong message to the rest of the group. That even if you aren’t playing regularly for your club side you can still be guaranteed a spot in Clarke’s squad.
It must be draining for Anthony considering he was handed his maiden call-up back in November. It looked at that stage as though Clarke had finally come to his senses. But this latest snub is perhaps the most baffling of them all. It would be intriguing to hear what the Scotland boss’ excuse is this time.
It’s interesting that he hasn’t actually opened up on it just yet. Far from it. He hasn’t been asked about the snub and has instead tried to simply talk up his replacement [Scottish Sun].
Of course, all Ralston can do is get the head down and keep impressing. But it’s now getting to the stage where it feels as though there’s nothing he can really do to win Clarke over permanently. And given the upcoming matches are friendlies only, it’s an even worse decision from the national team boss.
In other news, A nervy 6 days for Celtic supporters begins today