Why Anthony Ralston international debate is proof of Celtic defender's development

There wouldn’t appear to be an obvious positive spin to put on Celtic full-back Anthony Ralston’s omission from Scotland’s current squad.

His club manager Ange Postecoglou is able to find one, though. The player himself expressed a degree of exasperation over the fact that transforming his Celtic career, and finding a whole new performance level to pack in 40 appearances already this season, didn’t prove enough to get the nod from Steve Clarke for the country’s friendly double-header in this international break.

The omission of Ralston proved such a talking point in light of the 23-year-old making his senior Scotland debut as the nation earned a World Cup play-off place against Denmark five months ago. And that is what club manager Ange Postecoglou alights on in offering hope to a Ralston he has revitalised. “I think the fact some people are surprised he’s not been called up is a reflection on the way he’s been playing,” said the Celtic manager. “If he keeps playing like he does, I’m sure he’ll get looked at and he’ll get the opportunity again.

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“He’s come a long way this season. If you think about where he was at the start of the season, if you said in six months people will be disappointed he’s not been picked for the national team, you’d need to check yourself.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston (L) and manager Ange Postecoglou have worked on the defender's progress and development this season. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“It’s a credit to Tony. He’s worked awfully hard and taken every opportunity he’s had. He’s helped us as a team this season in getting us where we are. He just needs to keep doing that. This is his first full year at this club where he’s playing meaningful minutes. It’s a great foundation for him to improve and get better.”

Postecoglou was having none of it when it was put to him that some people felt the boyhood Celtic fan would drop out of the picture when left-back Greg Taylor returned and Josip Juranovic could be switched across to the right-back slot more natural for the Croatian. “A lot of people think a lot of things but it doesn’t really affect me, mate,” said the Celtic manager, Ralston starting seven of the 14 games he has been available for with Juranovic and Taylor on the scene. “Tony has done well and he’ll continue to be a big part of things here."

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Celtic's first league goal of the season came from Ralston. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
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