- Rangers midfielder fails to recover after two matches on sidelines
- Tierney also out
- Scotland need a point to seal Euro 2024 Finals spot
Ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Spain, Scotland’s squad faced a setback as midfielder Ryan Jack withdrew due to an injury sustained in a match against his former club, Aberdeen. This injury had already sidelined him for Rangers’ last two matches.
Tierney also misses out
Manager Steve Clarke, who is also without the services of defender Kieran Tierney, opted not to call up a replacement. Scotland, sitting atop Group A with a flawless record of five wins in five matches, have a chance to secure their spot in next summer’s finals in Germany if they can avoid defeat against Spain, or if Norway fail to beat Cyprus on the same night.
Clarke’s assistant, John Carver, expressed confidence in the existing squad, noting that they had anticipated Jack’s potential absence and were content with their options. He highlighted the promising form of Lewis Ferguson, particularly his impressive stint in Italy with Bologna. Carver also praised Ferguson’s physical and mental development, as well as his recent captaincy achievement.
Carver pointed out that there are other strong contenders, including Kenny McLean, who has been a reliable performer for the team. He also commended Scott McTominay, who showcased his resilience and determination by netting two crucial goals for Manchester United in added time against Brentford.
Speaking about McTominay, Carver acknowledged the challenges he faced in securing a spot in the Manchester United lineup and applauded his unwavering dedication. He emphasised McTominay’s suitability for the high-pressure environment at the club, indicating that his growth would be a valuable asset for the national team.
Regarding Tierney’s absence, Carver hinted at the possibility of a tactical shift from a back three to a back four, a manoeuvre that proved successful in their previous 0-0 draw against Ukraine in the Nations League.
Despite their win over Spain in March and their superb record in the qualifiers so far, Scotland go into the match very much as underdogs. The loss of Jack and Tierney will, naturally, be a blow to their chances. Scotland have made great progress under Clarke, however, the friendly loss to England possibly showed that they still have a way to go to match the best sides. Spain look to be coming back into form and bettors need to analyse whether they think Scotland can find a way to get a result.
At the time of writing Betfred are offering 9/1 for a Scottish victory, with Spain clear favourites at 1/4, and a draw 9/2.