The selection posers Steve Clarke must decide for Scotland crunch qualifier with Faroe Islands

Steve Clarke and Ryan Christie after Scotland's victory over Israel on Saturday. Picture: SNSSteve Clarke and Ryan Christie after Scotland's victory over Israel on Saturday. Picture: SNS
Steve Clarke and Ryan Christie after Scotland's victory over Israel on Saturday. Picture: SNS
The injury to Che Adams which forced the striker from the field of play prior to Scotland’s dramatic winner against Israel on Saturday will rob manager Steve Clarke of playing the same starting XI which secured such a crucial victory on the road to World Cup qualification.

The former West Bromich Albion and Kilmarnock boss may have been pondering a change anyway with Grant Hanley once again available for selection following his suspension last time out.

The defensive stopper has been in excellent form for Clarke’s side over the past 12 months and, as evidenced by the make up of the back three on Saturday, is the only meat-and-potatoes centre-back trusted by the manager, who opted for the ball-playing trio of Scott McTominay, Jack Hendry and Kieran Tierney.

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Conceding twice at home to Saturday’s opponents may require a rethink, with either McTominay or Hendry most likely to drop out. It would be particularly harsh on the former, considering his injury-time heroics, but he hasn’t always looked comfortable as a makeshift centre-back, the Israel win included. Hendry, meanwhile, was excellent on the right of the three in the 1-0 win in Austria.

McTominay could take a place in the midfield, though it would be quite a gamble to break up the trio of Billy Gilmour, Callum McGregor and John McGinn. The group give Scotland the ability to dominate possession, drive play forward from midfield and, thanks to McGinn, possess a dangerous goal threat.

Finding the ideal partner for Lyndon Dykes will be crucial as the Faroes are expected to make life as difficult as possible for the Scots in Gundadalur, having held runaway group leaders Denmark goalless for 85 minutes last month. Whether it’s Ryan Christie, who has more experience partnering Dykes and sparkled off the bench against Israel, or a more traditional striker in Kevin Nisbet, opportunities can’t be wasted in the final third. Ryan Fraser is also an option, though if the hosts play with a low block his speedy qualities may not suit.

Further tinkering could occur at the right wing-back position, as Nathan Patterson’s performance on Saturday wasn’t much better than what we’ve seen of Clarke favourite Stephen O’Donnell, but too many changes would be unnecessary and risk affecting the balance of a winning side.

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