Why Celtic star Anthony Ralston has yet to receive Scotland call-up

By David Walton

September 6, 2021

Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston was again let down today after being snubbed for Scotland duty once more.

There was general bemusement when Ralston wasn’t called up for the current international break. Especially given Rangers youngster Nathan Patterson was included instead despite not playing regularly.

Today, however, Clarke had a chance to pull Anthony into the mix. Patterson dropped out through injury, meaning a replacement was to be called up. Almost typically, Ralston was again snubbed for Hibernian’s Paul McGinn.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Clarke stated today that McGinn wasn’t the first player he tried to get into the camp as a replacement [Scottish Sun]. But it was during his original squad announcement that he explained why Ralston hadn’t been called up. He stated back then what he was effectively looking for.

Speaking in a video posted by PLZ Soccer at the time, Clarke said: “Tony Ralston’s come into the Celtic team and done great. He’s one of the ones who’s really benefited from the new style of play and the way they’re playing.

“But I think for Tony Ralston it’s about continuing that and seeing if he can stay in the team for a prolonged period of time.”

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Scotland boss wants extended Celtic run from Anthony Ralston

So in short, Clarke wants Ralston to be in the Celtic team for a prolonged period of time. The Hoops academy graduate has been a constant under Ange Postecoglou, and has seen himself involved in every competitive match since they began in July.

That’s Clarke’s explanation. That’s what he wants from Ralston. He clearly wants to see if he can hold off the challenge of Croatia international Josip Juranovic.

However, that would only make sense if the same applied to all of his players, which it clearly doesn’t. Patterson didn’t only bag a place in the squad, but he actually played against Moldova. That’s despite the fact he’s Rangers’ second-choice right-back. Why didn’t the same apply to him?

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

This may be what Clarke wants to see from Ralston, but he still has every reason to be disappointed. Not least because his main positional rival is getting a call-up despite not having proven himself.

Nothing against Patterson of course. He is a decent talent and had positive moments against the Moldovans. But for some reason, he has a different remit when it comes to contention as opposed to Ralston.

Clarke saying that McGinn wasn’t the first player he chose opens up suggestions Ralston could’ve been called up. But for what reason wouldn’t he have been able to make the camp? Postecoglou wouldn’t have held him back whilst Ralston surely would’ve jumped at the chance.

From the outside, it looks like double standards are at play here.

In other news, Confirmed: Scotland U21 Euro qualifier live on BBC; Celtic duo involved