Let’s face it, not many Celtic fans can be bothered with international breaks at present. Such is the state of Steve Clarke’s Scotland side, and the nature of their position in Euro 2020 qualification, that many would rather do anything other than watch the upcoming double-header.

It seems like that goes for a number of the players too. Important quartet Liam Cooper, Ryan Fraser, Scott McTominay and Andy Robertson all pulled out of Clarke’s squad on Tuesday morning, just a few days prior to the game in Cyprus.

It was notable that all four players play for English clubs. They would likely have been instructed by their employers that it was in their best interests to pull-out of two meaningless games – ahead of a frantic end to the year at club level. If not, it would have been a personal decision – reflecting the nature of the international games.

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But they aren’t the only players who have a busy end to 2019. Celtic have a trio of key men who were also called up to the Scotland setup. All three of whom could do with a fortnight or so off.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic must now flex their muscles and demand Scotland withdrawals

Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor and James Forrest have all featured at least 24 times for Neil Lennon’s outfit so far this season. Given that we’ve played 27 matches in 2019/2020, that’s a pretty reliable trio of players.

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The tone has been set with the call-offs of the likes of Robertson and Fraser, and now Celtic must follow suit. Scotland face two meaningless games over the next week and there is little or no need for our crucial trio to be part of proceedings.

(Photo by Paul Harding – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Fair enough if Steve Clarke was about to mould together his first-choice XI in preparation for next year’s play-offs. But that’s no longer going to be the case following Tuesday’s withdrawals.

The other Celtic player in the Scotland squad – Greg Taylor – should continue as he now has a realistic chance of a starting berth at left-back. But as far as the other three are concerned, we have bigger fish to fry.

The precedent has been set. Now it’s time for Celtic to flex their muscles.

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