A reward for never giving up and never giving in is how Ally McCoist looks on Lee Wallace’s appearance for Scotland at Wembley last Friday – the full-back’s first start for his country in six years.
During that time Wallace was mainly a lower division performer following the liquidation of Rangers in 2012 that forced them to start again in Scotland’s bottom tier.
The decision of Wallace, now Ibrox captain and a top-flight footballer, to continue to play for the club four years ago meant he was unlikely to be given many opportunities to add to his six caps. In 2013, he made two substitute appearances under Craig Levein, but it was only the loss to injury of left-backs Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney that resulted in Gordon Strachan turning to him for the England loss. Whatever the circumstances, McCoist believes Wallace deserves his change of fortune at international level.
“Lee made a lot of sacrifices, one being his Scotland career,” said his former manager. “I watched the game last week and I was delighted for him. He played well, especially going forward as you’d expect. I was really pleased for him and it was well deserved. I knew he could play at that level and he proved me right.
“It would have been easy for him to walk away from Rangers during that time, many did. In a day when a lot of players say, ‘enough, that’ll do me’, Lee Wallace has shown a tremendous attitude. He hasn’t thrown the toys out of the pram and instead said, ‘ok, I wasn’t good enough this time, I’ll work hard to make sure I’m picked in the next squad’.
“I don’t think you should give up on your country — quite the opposite. You call it a day when your country decides they don’t need you anymore.”