5 things we spotted at Scotland training as beaming Billy Gilmour forgets Norwich and Chelsea struggles


It’s not the play-off the Scotland players thought it would be – but it’s another chance to make their case for a starting spot.

With the Ukraine showdown at Hampden on hold, Poland are the opposition on Thursday night with Steve Clarke’s sights set on Qatar 2022.

Clarke has a host of injury problems to deal with, but that offers a chance for some late call-ups to make their case.

Zander Clark, Ross Stewart and Aaron Hickey will be hoping for their first run-out in front of The Tartan Army.

There are also plenty of familiar faces with Billy Gilmour and Kieran Tierney among those traveling north of the border as they take a break from their English Premier League campaign.

So what is the mood behind the scenes? RecordSport takes a look at the latest snaps to emerge from the Oriam.

A break for Billy

At club level, things haven’t been going very well for Billy Gilmour this season.

Loan side Norwich look doomed to relegation from the English Premier League, while parent club Chelsea are in the midst of their own crisis stemming from the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich.

However, international football allows the 20-year-old to take the shackles off again and enjoy a break.

As soon as he arrived at training he offered boss Steve Clarke a smile as he gets ready for the clash with Poland.

All smiles for Steve Clarke

It may be rare to see the Scotland boss cracking a smile, but he was clearly enjoying the meeting with his coaching staff.

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Someone was clearly in good shape as Steve Clarke shared a gag with Steven Naismith, Austin MacPhee and John Carver.

It’s all about momentum now for our boys going into the World Cup playoff – so hopefully Clarke will still be smiling after the full-time whistle on Thursday.

Who will be left back?

With Andy Robertson dropping out of Scotland squad, it’s a chance for these two to make their case for a starting spot.

Aaron Hickey has been tearing it up in Serie A, with his Bologna form earning him his first call-up, while Greg Taylor is enjoying his best form of his Celtic career.

The pair were in deep consultation at the Oriam, but the friendship will be put to one side at Hampden.

Neither will want to be left in the stands against Poland rather than making their case on the park.

Facing a busy night?

Is that a look of concern in Craig Gordon’s eyes?

It’s probably the thought of facing off against Robert Lewandowski on Thursday night.

The Bayern Munich has netted 12 goals in the Champions League this season – more than proving he is still among Europe’s elite.

Veteran Gordon has faced some of the world’s best throughout his career, but it will be another massive test at Hampden.

For Zander Clark it could be a chance to prove himself if he handed his international debut, but it would be a major baptism of fire.

Now listen here Ross…

Kieran Tierney led the welcoming committee for Scotland call-up Ross Stewart.

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He was giving the Sunderland striker a talking to – or maybe a couple of tips?

The Arsenal star has certainly been there and done it for both club and country.

Either way, Stewart was all smiles at the Oriam as he looks forward to a potential Scotland debut.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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