Celtic's Anthony Ralston called for Scotland duty against Denmark

Anthony Ralston will be given the chance to earn a first Scotland cap as a late recruit to Steve Clarke’s squad ahead of tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifier with Denmark.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston during the cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Celtic at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Celtic's Anthony Ralston during the cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Celtic at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The defender's impressive start to the season at Celtic led to surprise in some quarters that he was not amongst the manager’s initial squad for the double-header, nor previous rounds of qualifiers, but he will replace the suspended Rangers right-back Nathan Patterson as Scotland seek a seeded place in the play-offs next March.

Patterson picked up his second caution of the campaign in Moldova which triggered an automatic one-game suspension. Eight other Scots will walk a similar disciplinary tight-rope against Denmark but Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie are back from their own bans and can be selected by Clarke who expects an otherwise clean bill of health among his squad.

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“Dykesy should join us the afternoon for training and we will call up Tony Ralston to the squad to cover for Nathan’s suspension,” he explained.

Ralston has been involved in the international set-up through to under-21 level. (Picture: SNS)

“I think Nathan Patterson and Stephen O’Donnell have done well for us in the right wing-back position.

“Celtic play slightly differently but Tony has attributes that I think could make him a good right wing-back too.

“It will be good to have him in the camp and look at him over a couple of training sessions."

Clarke also revealed he had attempted to bring the defender in earlier. However, recent form has made him difficult to ignore after a stand-out start to life under Ange Postecoglou.

“He was given a chance by a manager who obviously trusts him a lot and has stuck by him,” Clarke added.

“Credit to the player he has taken his chance. He has probably been sitting there waiting on that chance for a long time.

“Any time I have seen him this year he has been impressive. I did try to call him up to one of the previous squads but unfortunately Covid put paid to that. It’s nice to have him here in the squad now.”

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At least a draw against the group-winning Danes will be required for the national team to earn a seeded home start to the play-offs which will decide if a second successive tournament qualification can be achieved and send Scotland to next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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