Steve Clarke names his Scotland squad on Tuesday for the opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain.
It’s a huge couple of games as Scotland look to get off to a strong start in their bid to secure a place at next summer’s European Championship in Germany.
Qualifying group A also consists of Norway and Georgia, with the top two teams guaranteed a place in the finals.
Scotland go into the campaign knowing they have already secured a play-off spot for the tournament after topping their Nations League group last September.
But Clarke will be doing his utmost to ensure that play-off isn’t needed by achieving automatic qualification.
It’s been six months since Scotland’s last competitive fixture – that crucial 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Krakow – and the players involved in that squad have had contrasting fortunes in recent times.
Scotland played a friendly against Turkey in November but no Celtic players were involved as the Parkhead club travelled to Australia for a friendly tournament.
Therefore, STV News takes a look at who was involved for the competitive Nations League matches against the Republic of Ireland and Ukraine last autumn, and assesses who is likely to be called up this time.
The main emergency facing Clarke in this international window is who plays in goals.
Craig Gordon is out for the rest of the season after suffering a double leg break against Dundee United at Tannadice on Christmas Eve, while Hibs’ David Marshall has retired from international duty.
Jon McLaughlin remains the number two choice at Ibrox but his game time has been severely limited, with Allan McGregor – who retired from international duty in 2019 – still the favoured option at Rangers.
Asked if there was chance of a comeback, McGregor said: “I wouldn’t have thought so, no. Nobody has spoken to me about it, I haven’t really thought about it so I find it highly unlikely.”
Hearts’ Zander Clark, Motherwell’s Liam Kelly and Rangers’ Robby McCrorie are all in contention for selection, as is Angus Gunn after successful talks with Clarke convinced him to switch allegiance from England.
The 27-year-old – whose father Bryan won six caps for Scotland in the 1990s – is eligible for both nations and played for England through the age groups up to under-21 level.
Everton’s Nathan Patterson has had a spell on the sidelines after suffering medial ligament damage. He has been playing for the Under 21s as part of his recovery but these games might come a bit too soon for him.
Scott McKenna of Nottingham Forest is sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Greg Taylor of Celtic and Club Brugge’s Jack Hendry are also struggling for full fitness.
Kieran Tierney has lost his spot in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side to Oleksandr Zinchenko and there has been precious little game time for Anthony Ralston at Parkhead.
Grant Hanley (Norwich), Aaron Hickey (Brentford) and Ryan Porteous (Watford) are all likely to be included.
But Calvin Ramsey (Liverpool) is out with a long-term knee injury and his team-mate on Merseyside Ben Doak has been called up for the Scotland U-21s.
Scotland captain Andy Robertson is in good form and Liam Cooper (Leeds United) should also be included.
Billy Gilmour was struggling for game time at Chelsea and those struggles have persisted at Brighton and Hove Albion. The midfielder was one of the stand-out performers for the national side at Euro 2020 but his place in this squad could be in jeopardy.
Clarke does, however, have a plethora of options in the middle of the park including Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) and Lewis Ferguson (Bologna).
Aston Villa captain and Tartan Army darling John McGinn is a dead cert for inclusion but there might not be room for David Turnbull (Celtic).
Che Adams (Southampton) led the line for the Saints at Old Trafford at the weekend and is likely to start up front for the Scots in their opening match against Cyprus.
Lyndon Dykes (QPR) has only just returned to match action after recovering from pneumonia and Sunderland striker Ross Stewart is out for the rest of the season after suffering an Achilles injury.
Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Oli McBurnie (Sheffield Utd), Jacob Brown (Stoke City), Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) and Lawrence Shankland (Hearts) will be hoping for a call.
But Ryan Fraser (Newcastle) has been banished to the Under 21’s by Newcastle boss Eddie Howe.
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