Is this the Scotland Euro 2024 squad? Predicted line-up as Steve Clarke makes call on right-back and wildcards

Who is in and who is out as Clarke prepares to name his squad

The waiting is almost over. Decision time is now upon Scotland head coach Steve Clarke who will announce his provisional Euro 2024 squad on Wednesday as 28 players are handed the prospect of a golden ticket to a major finals.

There is great anticipation over who might be included with the potential for a number of wildcards in an expanded line-up and all eyes on who is selected at right-back after first choice duo Nathan Patterson and Aaron Hickey were ruled out by injury.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Other questions to be answered include how many goalkeepers will be selected, are Grant Hanley and Stuart Armstrong fit enough for inclusion, and what strikers will be tasked with firing the nation to Euros glory?

Scotland manager Steve Clarke will name his provisional 28-man squad for Euro 2024 on Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Scotland manager Steve Clarke will name his provisional 28-man squad for Euro 2024 on Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Scotland manager Steve Clarke will name his provisional 28-man squad for Euro 2024 on Wednesday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Clarke will cast an eye over his group in training and in warm-up matches against Gilbraltar and Finland before settling on the final 26 who will travel to Germany this summer with disappointment for the two who don't make it.

Here is what to expect from Clarke's squad announcement...

Goalkeepers

With the increase to 28 players comes the near certainty that Clarke will name four goalkeepers in his provisional squad. That is good news for Hearts veteran Craig Gordon who has been pushing to get himself into the reckoning since returning from long-term injury at the turn of the year. The former Scotland number one was part of the quartet called up for the March friendlies alongside Norwich stopper Angus Gunn, Hearts team-mate Zander Clark and Motherwell's Liam Kelly. That number could drop to three for the tournament with Gordon likely to battle it out with Kelly for the final spot behind Gunn and Clark. Gunn established himself as Scotland's first-choice stopper over the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign after switching allegience from England while Clark has kept the gloves ahead of Gordon at Hearts after an impressive campaign between the sticks.

Max Johnston - pictured in action for Scotland Under-21s - is a possible wildcard choice at right-back. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Max Johnston - pictured in action for Scotland Under-21s - is a possible wildcard choice at right-back. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Max Johnston - pictured in action for Scotland Under-21s - is a possible wildcard choice at right-back. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Defence

The big dilemma for Clarke is how to cope with the absence of Hickey and Patterson. Losing his two first choice right-backs is a major blow but has opened the door for others to stake a claim. Anthony Ralston has been included in recent squads but has spent the majority of the season on the Celtic bench behind Alistair Johnston, making just eight starts across all competitions. He did, however, play 90 minutes of the 3-2 win over St Mirren on Saturday and has the experience of eight caps and one international goal to call upon. The question is who will join Ralston in the squad. Ross McCrorie has had a fine second half of the season for Bristol City after his return from injury and is a major contender, particularly as he can also play centre-back if required. Max Johnston has won a league and cup double with Sturm Graz in Austria, but like Ralston, has featured mainly as a substitite. He is just 20-years-old but is tipped for a bright future. Clark could choose to call up both and then decide on which one to keep for the finals. Another possible option is Liam Palmer, who has played 38 games for Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship this term but has not been capped since 2021. The other major question mark in defence surrounds the fitness of Grant Hanley, who has only played sporadically for Norwich since returning from long-term injury in December. It is likely he will be included in the 28 with a decision taken on his fitness over the pre-tournament camp. Having Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney both fit and available after recent injuries is a huge boost.

Midfield

The absence of Lewis Ferguson is a blow to both the player and the country after a stellar season for Bologna in Serie A but Scotland still have plenty strength in depth across the middle of the park. Callum McGregor's return to his best with Celtic after a phased return from injury is welcomed and the Tartan Army will cross their fingers that talisman Scott McTominay makes it through Manchester United's FA Cup final against Manchester City this weekend unscathed after his recent knee worries. Ryan Jack returned to the Rangers bench for the weekend draw at Hearts and may be given a chance to prove his fitness over the warm-up camp after another lengthy injury lay-off, although reports have indicated that Aberdeen’s Connor Barron could be in line for a promotion from the Under-21s. Stuart Armstrong missed the end of the season with Southampton after picking a muscle injury but is hoping to be fit and will likely be included. John McGinn will be firing on all cylinders after leading Aston Villa to the Champions League while Billy Gilmour has enjoyed his best season to date in the Premier League with Brighton.

Celtic's James Forrest has played his way into contention for a Euro 2024 call-up. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Celtic's James Forrest has played his way into contention for a Euro 2024 call-up. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Celtic's James Forrest has played his way into contention for a Euro 2024 call-up. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Forwards

Lawrence Shankland was not even picked for the Scotland squad for much of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. His equalising goal in Georgia last November came only after he was drafted in as a late addition due to an injury to Che Adams. However, the Hearts captain could now be set to lead the line in Germany after an award-winning season that saw him net 31 times to lead the Tynecastle side to a third-place finish in the Premiership. He is a certainty to make the squad alongside Adams, assuming the Southampton striker recovers from the calf injury that saw him miss the Championship play-off semi-final win over West Brom. Lyndon Dykes has not enjoyed the most prolific of seasons for QPR but has been a pivotal figure for Scotland and will deserve his seat on the plane. Clarke is likely to take four forwards to the Euros and while there have been some calls for Tommy Conway to be promoted from the Under-21s, the re-emergence of James Forrest in the latter weeks of the season could see the Celtic winger edge back into contention as a wildcard, particularly as he offers some much-needed width in attack. Kevin Nisbet was a squad regular before being injured with Millwall, but while he is now back fit, he has only managed 22 minutes of football since January and arguably harmed his chances of a Euro 2024 call-up after being dropped by his club for disciplinary reasons.

Scotland Euro 2024 predicted provisional squad: Goalkeepers - Angus Gunn, Craig Gordon, Zander Clark, Liam Kelly; Defenders - Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Grant Hanley, Liam Cooper, Jack Hendry, Scott McKenna, Ryan Porteous, John Souttar, Anthony Ralston, Max Johnston, Ross McCrorie, Greg Taylor; Midfielders - Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, Kenny McLean, Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Connor Barron, Ryan Christie, Stuart Armstrong; Forwards - Lawrence Shankland, Che Adams, Lyndon Dykes, James Forrest.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.