Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan had a very strict Scotland selection rule

By Euan Davidson

June 22, 2021

Former Celtic and Scotland boss Gordon Strachan may have been indelibly linked to the Bhoys after his spell in charge.

However, it didn’t affect his mind one bit as a Scotland manager. Furthermore, he wouldn’t allow the Glasgow rivalry to sway the mood in the camp. Any player who brought in any of the elements of the heated, historic tension between Celtic and Rangers just wouldn’t get selected.

That’s what he’s told the Daily Star, anyway. Strachan, who spent 4 years as the Scotland boss, had zero time for any baggage as the men’s team manager. While he wasn’t able to bring the Tartan Army to the promised land, he got close, bringing through some of the current squad’s key players in the process.

Strachan told the Daily Star:

“What I’ve seen of the international team when I was there, there didn’t seem to be a problem.

“Celtic were dominant at the time, that was a problem for the Rangers players, but I never really had a problem with it.

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“It might have been a couple of years back but I made sure that never happened. If I spotted anybody with any tendencies they wouldn’t be in the squad.

“I spotted tendencies in guys that actually thought they were playing, some of them were delusional, and thought they should be playing, and affecting players but I just wouldn’t pick them again.

“If I had seen anyone bringing that in, they would not get picked.”

Current Scotland squad seems to be harmonious

Admittedly, there isn’t a huge Rangers presence in the Scotland camp. Nathan Patterson represents the only Gers player in the squad. Celtic, meanwhile, have 6 players (counting Jack Hendry for now) in Clarke’s squad. There are plenty of players who have ties to Celtic or Rangers in some way, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting the camp whatsoever.

That’s a good thing; club ties shouldn’t really come into it here. And while yes, there is historical precedent of Celtic legends not receiving international acclaim, the culture seems to have shifted. Bhoys players past and present have a strong presence in the squad, but it’d be excessive to say there’s an agenda at work.

No bad blood: Scott Brown and Kenny Miller celebrating in 2013 / (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Celtic just have more available Scottish players at this moment in time. And if Strachan’s example is anything to go by, the intensity of the rivalry in Glasgow isn’t a factor when it comes to playing for Scotland. Steve Clarke is, how do we put this, less outwardly jovial than Strachan. It’d be fair to assume he’s more of a disciplinarian, who sets the culture and the agenda. He won’t put up with any outside factors seeping into the atmosphere.

It’s interesting insight from Gordon Strachan, though. And here’s hoping there’s nothing distracting any of the Scotland players tonight, with qualification for the next round on the agenda.

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