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Scotland and the curious case of having three very good left-backs in your team

Alex McLeish faces a rather unique selection crisis at the moment

We think Scotland have a bit of a problem at the moment.

No, we’re not talking about the fact that they haven’t qualified for a major tournament since 1998, nor are we on about their 4-0 defeat to Belgium on Friday.

In fact, we’re a little worried about their current left-back situation.

Because rather strangely, they’re a little too well stocked in the position right now.



That’s right, with Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Barry Douglas in tow, Alex McLeish has a bit of a left-back-related headache at the moment.

Roberson – who’s just been named Scotland’s captain – is probably the best of the three, having become well established in Liverpool’s starting line-up and impressing last season during their Champions League campaign.

Actually, forget that, we’re still not over his performance against Man City, when he completely nullified Raheem Sterling.



But then there’s Tierney, who’s perhaps one of the best young left-backs in Europe right now.

Celtic’s wonderkid – who was eyed by a number of Premier League clubs over the summer – would ordinarily get into plenty of teams, but will struggle to compete with Robertson for a place on his favoured side, especially now Robertson is captain.

In the recent drubbing against Belgium, McLeish tried to solve the issue by playing Robertson as a wing-back, while Tierney played in the back three.

A little like how England played Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker at the World Cup, I suppose.

It’s a maddening conundrum, not least because the pair are probably Scotland’s two best players.

But former Scotland boss Gordon Strachan weighed in on the situation with Tierney, claiming the youngster is incredibly adaptable, which made his job a lot easier.

He said: “He’s brilliant. I asked him if he wanted to play right-back and he just said ‘yeah’.

“It wasn’t even a conversation. Then he played centre back against England; not a problem to him.”



So what about Douglas?

Perhaps not on the same level as his compatriots, but Douglas has been in excellent form for the Championship’s form-side Leeds this season.

It’s not just been a fleeting fancy either, as he was one of the best players for Wolves last season, helping the side storm to the Championship title before moving to Elland Road over the summer.

Douglas has impressed for Leeds this season

Douglas has impressed for Leeds this season

He made his international debut back in March and currently has just one cap for the Scots, but will surely be knocking on the door for more appearances if he keeps up his excellent form as part of Marcelo Bielsa’s revolution.

McLeish certainly has some tinkering to do.


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