So last night it was effectively made official – Scott Bain’s Scotland jersey has been lost to David Marshall.
Scotland went down 3-0 in Brussels in a predictable performance against the Belgians last night. But the biggest blow for Bain will have been hearing the teamsheet without his name on it.
The Celtic number one had already been left out of the match against Cyprus on Saturday night. Scotland’s 2-1 win over the Cypriots in Steve Clarke’s first game in charge saw Marshall start. Bain’s place as back-up was then confirmed as Marshall again appeared in Belgium.
We’ll all have our different opinions on Marshall. Some will rate him and some won’t. He certainly made some impressive stops last night to keep Scotland in the game during the first 45. But, at the same time, he often parried the ball when it looked easier to catch, and parried it straight to Romelu Lukaku for the Belgians’ second.
For Celtic man, Bain, however, he can’t let it affect him too much. Marshall is a fine shot-stopper, but he’s hardly irreplaceable. Bain’s progress at Celtic now becomes essential for his international ambitions, as he now has a good rival up against him once again.
He has the gloves wrapped up at Celtic. Nobody is even close to challenging him, with Craig Gordon well out of the team and Dorus de Vries having departed.
The Champions League could help Bain
Bain has a carrot potentially coming up that Marshall won’t have either – the Champions League. Qualifying for that would be a fine way for the Hoops goalkeeper to catch the eye of Clarke.
It was performances against the top level of club football that gave Fraser Forster his big break with England. He made a couple of appearances for the Three Lions during his spell at Parkhead. That shows just how difficult it is to ignore good European displays.
Marshall will be spending another year in the Championship with Hull City as it stands. So Bain will most certainly be involved in games of a higher profile than the current Scotland number one this season.
So it’s a slight blow for our own first-choice goalkeeper that he’s had to give up the jersey so soon. The 3-0 loss in Kazakhstan may not have helped matters either, even if Bain was exposed for all three goals.
He simply must look forward without any regrets, which he undoubtedly will. Celtic performances will lead to Scotland outings, but only if he’s on his game. Hopefully, he gives Clarke something to think about before September’s visit of Russia to Hampden.