'Above them all' - The Scotland star Steve Clarke can't afford to lose and surprise Kieran Tierney replacement

Scotland head into June's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine with a star-studded line-up, albeit with injury concerns.

Both Kieran Tierney and Nathan Patterson are doubts for the match at Hampden Park with both requiring operations on injuries.

The duo are key members of Steve Clarke’s system, none more so than Tierney.

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The Arsenal star makes the formation work as the left-sided centre-back and his willingness to step into an attacking role and combine so well with Andy Robertson down the left-hand side.

However, Clarke may have to find a replacement for the former Celtic favourite as he recovers from his knee surgery.

Hearts star Stephen Kingsley has performed the role impressively this campaign, while Scotland have been linked with Newcastle United defender Matt Targett.

Former Scotland international Pat Nevin believes another player can step into the position.

“Scotland are going to miss Kieran Tierney," he said.

John McGinn has been described as "above them all" in terms of importance to Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

"Which is a huge miss but they've got Aaron Hickey, who is playing over in Italy at the moment, who will fit in that position so I think Scotland will be okay there.”

Nevin has pinpointed the one player Clarke will be desperate not to lose between now and the Ukraine game.

“We have a good team at the moment,” he said,speaking to Lord Ping. “This is the best for a couple of generations I would suggest. Looking at the midfield, it's been brilliant. Callum McGregor has been superb, but weirdly, Billy Gilmour has been one of the most important players for Scotland, but he can't get a game for Norwich, and he can't get a game for Chelsea.

"And even Scott McTominay, who has been there as well in midfield, he's been fabulously important. But, it's different when you're playing for Scotland than when you're playing for your club side.

"But if you add on top of that, the likes of Che Adams, who's been fabulous, absolutely fabulous for Scotland, his work rate, his commitment, and he's fitted right in.

"We all have to put our hands up, for our own biases now, and applaud Craig Gordon, who's been staggering this year, utterly brilliant. And it's important he keeps on doing that for Scotland, but even so I'd put John McGinn above them all. He's been fantastic for Villa and he's been even better for Scotland.”

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