Billy Gilmour: How Scotland can replace him after Chelsea starlet tests positive for Covid
There is little to be gained from Steve Clarke agonising over the Covid-19 enforced absence of Billy Gilmour for what could potentially be the most pivotal game Scotland have ever faced at a major finals.
The national manager must immediately turn his attentions to the rejig of his side required for the Group D closer against Croatia tomorrow on which rests the hopes of a first ever second stage appearance at a major finals for the nation.
The Callum McGregor-Billy Gilmour partnership in the heart of Scotland’s midfield that allowed for Scotland to play with control and composure in their laudable draw with England on Friday must be replicated as best Clarke can.
That means moving Scott McTominay forward from the back-three role in which he was berthed at Wembley to link-up with McGregor. In turn, that opens up a vacancy in the backline. To fill it, Clarke should consider recalling Liam Cooper and placing him in the middle of the three, where Grant Hanley was stationed against the English. As a result, the Norwich City pivot should be shuffled to the right of defence, the 29-year-old laying on the right of defence for his club. The reshuffling isn’t ideal, but sticking as close to what worked so well on Friday would be making the best of a bad break.
And Gilmour’s positive test is a reminder that football in the time of Covid-19 has a nasty habit of throwing these moments of misfortune up just when least expected, and just when potentially most damaging.