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  1. Bain Palmer Bates McKenna Tierney McGinn McTominay McGregor Forrest McBurnie Russell Subs at 60mins: Armstrong and Burke The LB and CB’s pick themselves. O’Donnell’s season hasn’t been as good as last unlike Palmer who’s inform. McGinn is in brilliant form, provides drive and goals — has to start. Have been very impressed by McTominay in the games he’s started, ball retention and ability to almost always pick the best option and in games played at the very highest level. Our only real choice as a defensive midfielder. McGregor has also been at his best this season, can be creative and take the ball out from defense. I like Armstrong as an impact sub, he’s actually done this really well for his club this season. He brings pace urgency we might need if McGregor or McTominay have off-games. For me centre forward is an easy pick. McBurnie has 18 goals this season and can do the holding up role Fletcher has done recently. Forrest also an easy pick, our best player in the nations league and having his best season for Celtic. Left winger is more difficult. Russell can do a job there although his best position is on the right. I don’t think anyone in the squad for this game can play here naturally apart from Morgan.
  2. Is Johnny Russel available for Kazakhstan? Played last night in Colorado (and scored). 2 long haul flights for him and jet lag to overcome. He’s one I wouldn’t have minded too much if he could play against San Marino only.
  3. Dembele was called up for England Under 16's today. Looks like this is his final decision...will be incredibly frustrating if he ends up living up to his potential. I'd hope we've done everything in our power, in this case, to convince him to play for us but we do seem a bit crap in identifying Scottish qualified players at an early age and retaining them through the age groups. Wales, on the other hand, seem to be able to do this even with massively hyped players. Ethan Ampadu was born and lived all his life in England but they called him up to their senior team at 16. Even with huge fan and media hype. They've also got David Brooks and plenty others too. It would be ideal if all our players were developed in Scotland and we should aim for that but the reality is there's loads of talent in England and lots will have Scottish parents/grandparents who'd be extremely proud to play for us. But we can't even convince Dembele who's lived all his life here.
  4. So the games Dembele has played for both Scotland and England have been at a ‘non-competitive’ level. But once you get up to Under 17’s level there are European Championship qualifying games. Scotland (and England) had the first qualifying games late last year. These are the games, it seems, Dembele refused a Scotland call up for and instead played for an England under 16 team at a non-competitive level. It’s my understanding that if he plays for Scotland competively at Under 17 level he’ll only be allowed to switch his international allegiance once after this. So he’s got a big decision this year if he wants to play qualifying games.
  5. Agree. The papers last year were reporting that he was enjoying living in Portugal even though he wasn’t getting the game time he wanted. They also had quotes saying he wanted Portuguese citizenship, you need to live in Portugal for 5 years to gain this...he’s still 6months away from this. Don’t see why he’d swap this to join hibs on loan for 6 months. If he continues to do well at Farense, he’ll either get promoted as (hopefully) one of there star players or sign for a bigger Portuguese team or potentially another European top flight team. If he left now I’d be dissapointed, he’s settled in his current team and he’d be effectively be giving up on his dream of playing at a high level in Europe.
  6. Just read he fractured his skull in this game and played on.
  7. There’s an ‘in-form’ chart and a ‘season chart’. Just scroll down a bit. Fraser, Robertson and Snodgrass are in the top 50 for the season. The power rankings award weighted points for goals, assists, chances created, tackles, dribbles completed etc. Similar to WhoScored ratings. The top 5 this season are Salah, Hazard, Sterling, Felipe Anderson and Aubaneyang. So seems pretty accurate. Advanced stats are becoming more popular in football. I reckon this list is a pretty good indicator. Most clubs (even the Scottish ones) employ analysts to build up data for potential signings/current players and oppositions players.
  8. First time I've seen these rankings. Thought the season chart was interesting and pretty impressive from a Scottish point of view - 3 Scots in the top 50 players of the EPL. Not bad considering we only have 11 players in that league. In comparison there only 7 English players (out of the 167 players they have). The only other nations that have higher representations than us are Brazil (9), France (6) and Spain (5). We're ahead of Germany (2), Portugal (2), Belgium (1), Netherlands (1) and Argentina (1). Ireland also have 1 player, Wales and Northern Ireland both have none. Realise the likes of Brazil, Portugal and Belgium have their best players playing in other top leagues but these seems impressive nonetheless.
  9. Close...he’s =33rd top scorer in the league. 3 goals and 1 assist from 13 starts. He’ll probably creep this up to 7 or 8 goals by March. This might take him into contention but will still be behind McBurnie, Fletcher, Naismith and Griffiths. Think he’ll need to up his contribution a little before he can be called up.
  10. It’s clear Israel will target Paterson on Tuesday. Assume Tierney is out of the Israel game too? Didn’t think it was clear if all the pull outs were for both games. Think McLeish should have brought Shinnie/Hendry on to play RB when we were more than comfortable in the 2nd half. Would be an unnatural position for either of them but I’m not convinced Paterson is any better than them there. 30 mins in this game would have been a good indication though. If he were to call anyone up it would have to be Palmer at Sheffield Wed or Naismith at Peterborough. But I don’t think it it’s the best time to give anyone their debut in such a vital game. Could really have done with Jack being fit.
  11. No Mulgrew for Blackburn. Quote from Tony Mowbray... McKenna and Devlin the only out-and-out centre backs in the squad now. If Mulgrew is out I think it'll be more likely we'll play 4 at the back.
  12. Celtic used him in a central 3 on Thursday. Rogic played ahead of him. We could play McGregor and McGinn deeper and Christie just ahead. I’m a fan of Armstrong too, but can’t justify him starting without more minutes for his club. Hopefully he starts today (surely Southampton will make big changes today after conceding 6 last week!) and we can judge him a little better.
  13. Thought Christie was brilliant on Thursday night. Had his best ever game for Celtic in a high pressure game against a high level of opposition. These are the sort of games you need your international players to perform in. Read that he made the most tackles of any player playing in the Europa league last week (10) and was obviously a threat going forward too. I’d like to see a midfield three of Christie, McGregor and McGinn. All three work hard, are mobile, and keep the ball well. The only other centre midfielders in the squad are McDonald (not on form, ponderous) and Armstrong (hasn’t been playing and isn’t as strong defensively).
  14. He’s been injured. Pulled out of the Scotland squad with a knee injury and has been out since. He’d be in my squad if fit. Need defensive midfielders.
  15. Has to be on the bench at least as a player we can go to in the final stages. Wins everything in the air and clearly has an eye for goal. West Brom didn’t score today, hopefully will mean they’ll turn to Burke in the next few games. Interesting to read Moore’s thoughts on Burke. They’re obviously not giving up on him and see him as a player with lots of talent. Looks like he doesn’t have a natural understanding of the game instead of an attitude issue. Hopefully he’s fully on board with the clubs plan.
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