Stephen McIlkenny: Why I won’t be watching a glorified shirt advert

Scotland's Matt Phillips (left) with Ryan Jack. Picture: SNS
Scotland's Matt Phillips (left) with Ryan Jack. Picture: SNS
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Scotland will take on the Netherlands tonight but few Tartan Army foot soldiers will even care, Stephen McIlkenny argues.

The pain of missing out on yet another major tournament had not even passed before the SFA announced a ‘glamour tie’ against the Netherlands.

Indeed, a mere five days after the agonising draw in Ljubljana, and a day after the National Team had lost their manager, the friendly against the Netherlands was announced with Malky Mackay to take charge of the team at a game at Pittodrie.

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You did read that correctly.

A team that has no permanent manager and has no competitive games for just under a year is to play at 7:45pm on a Wednesday night in November away from the national stadium.

With reports suggesting the game won’t even sell out at Aberdeen’s 20,800-seater stadium, it could be argued that perhaps some fans aren’t seeing the point in such a game.

And why would they?

Kris Boyd has been very vocal about the players making the trip to Pittodrie, claiming they are not worthy of a call up. There is a backlash against the interim manager, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a completely meaningless game that has no real bearing on the future of our side (although it may have a slight impact on the world rankings).

READ MORE - Mackay: Aberdeen players not in Scotland team to boost crowd

The game was arranged after we had failed to qualify for the World Cup, to play another team that had failed to qualify for the World Cup three days after a kit launch. Fans that have paid a fortune over the last campaign only for the same result are now being asked to fork out at least £15 to watch a bunch of fringe players in a glorified shirt advert.

Where is the logic?

I understand that some players have a future in the national team and at least there is a high quality of opposition. For fans it’s the chance to see some players that many have been itching to see in a Scotland shirt. I also appreciate that for supporters from the North East it’s a chance to see the side closer to home, but deep down I do not believe that this game is to give players who are good enough a chance.

If players such as John McGinn, Jason Cummings and Ryan Christie are to feature in the Scotland squad in the future, it should be their performances that take them there, not the need to sell shirts and satisfy sponsors with meaningless ties.

While we’re on the logic of the SFA, if Scotland are to avoid defeat tonight, then it will be the first time since 1970 that Scotland have gone an entire calendar year unbeaten…

And we just sacked the manager that made that happen.

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