Michael Stewart unhappy with Steve Clarke's use of Celtic star at Hampden

By John McGinley

June 14, 2021

Michael Stewart feels Celtic star James Forrest should have been introduced to the Scotland match against the Czech Republic far earlier than he was.

The winger came into the game in the 79th minute. However, in truth, the match was beyond the Scottish side by that point. Forrest did show flashes of attacking flair and had a couple of promising moments in the opposition box.

However, Stewart reckons that Forrest should have come into the Group D fixture sooner and was baffled by Steve Clarke’s decisions, or lack of, on the right flank.

Would it have made a difference to the 2-0 defeat?

Writing on Twitter, he said at the interval: “Hugely disappointing to lose a goal just before half time. Get James Forrest on at halftime to give us some forward momentum and impetus down the right-hand side.”

Later in the second half, he provided similar thoughts on the social media site: “We are 2-0 down but still have no attacking width down our right-hand flank. Regardless of whether you think O’Donnell should start or not, surely we need to make a change down that side?

“We started the game well with some good combinations down the left in particular, but since then we’ve lacked any real rhythm or purpose to our attacking play. Still feel we don’t have the right balance or shape, middle to front, for our better players.”

The difference in Scotland when there was an attacking player on the right flank was noticeable. The decision not to use Forrest earlier may be a talking point amongst more pundits than Stewart over the coming days.

Celtic star James Forrest in action at Euro 2020 / (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Obviously, I’m biased, but I’d love to see Forrest in the starting line-up against England. He’s certainly preferable to Stephen O’Donnell. If it’d be too bold for Clarke to play him at right wing-back, then Forrest should be utilised instead of Ryan Christie further forward.

I’d also get young, hungry players like Kevin Nisbet and David Turnbull into the side. These kinds of players can give the Scotland team energy. Some of the so-called big stars were miles off it today.

Scotland were soundly beaten at home in a major tournament. Changes have to be made.

In other news, upset in Yokohama F. Marinos dressing room following Postecoglou’s exit to Celtic.