Andy Considine took the dreaded phone call telling him he would not be part of Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad as well as could have been expected, according to manager Steve Clarke.
The Scotland boss yesterday confirmed his 26-man squad for this summer’s finals, with Aberdeen defender Considine among those omitted.
Sheffield Wednesday defender Liam Palmer also dropped out from the last camp in March, while there was also no place for Leigh Griffiths, Callum Paterson or Lawrence Shankland.
Considine has been an ever-present in Clarke’s squad since winning his first call up at the age of 33 last October, going on to win three caps.
Having since turned 34, Clarke says he felt the Dons player’s pain at missing out on what is likely to be his last opportunity to play at a major tournament with his country.
Clarke said: “It was a difficult call to make.
“What I do with the squad in terms of boys I leave out is I only work one back, so I’m working back to the March squad.
“Anybody who was in the March squad that wasn’t going to make this one had to be the recipient of a not very nice phone call from myself.
“That took in Liam Palmer and Andy Considine – two tough conversations.
“I’ve got to say both took it as well as could be expected.
“I gave them reasons. I don’t just not pick them. I tell them what the choice is and the thought process going through my head before they get there.
“I like to think they accept the reasons I give them.
“I am just myself. I am honest and I tell them what I think and that’s just the way it is.
“Obviously there is a little bit of you who sees Andy Considine at 34.
“It would maybe have been Andy’s last chance to be at a major tournament.
“That’s not to say he couldn’t be involved in Qatar because Andy keeps himself in fantastic shape.
“Difficult calls, but that’s what I’m asked to do.
“But I also accept their disappointment the same as I accept disappointment of a Leigh Griffiths, Callum Paterson, Lawrence Shankland and all of the boys who have been involved with us before that haven’t quite made the final cut.
“It’s difficult for them, but it’s my job as the manager to make that call and that’s what I have to do.”
Clarke added three uncapped players to his squad, with Rangers right back Nathan Patterson drafted in, along with midfielders David Turnbull (Celtic) and Billy Gilmour (Chelsea).
The Scotland boss was keen to give fresh faces their opportunity to impress following a number of injuries, adding: “You’ve got so many people, so many different characters.
“What I was trying to do and what I didn’t want to do, was get a group of players who got us there but also to be careful it wasn’t solely about that.
“When the three extra places came in on the back of three significant injuries – Oli Burke picked up an injury in his last game for Shefield United – Oli McBurnie, Kenny McLean and Ryan Jack, losing those three was difficult.
“But in a way it made it a little bit easier for me to think the best way would be to put the three younger boys into the squad and freshen it up – keep the older guys on their toes a little bit.
“I’m happy with the balance.”
Clarke has urged Considine and others who did not make the final cut to be on alert in the event of injuries or illness to any of the selected players.
Tournament rules will allow changes to be made up until 24 hours before Scotland play their first game against Czech Republic at Hampden Park on June 14, and Clarke added: “You could name a very small standby squad, you could name a huge standby squad.
“I think the best thing is to just say to those not in the squad that up until June 13, because of the Covid situation and obviously the chance of injuries, I can replace people in the squad.
“Although this squad will become on June 1, right up until the day before the first game you can actually replace players in the squad.
“So the ones who are not in the squad now, if they want to be ready to step in at late notice they have to keep themselves in a reasonable shape.
“By and large, I think most modern footballers keep themselves in pretty good shape, even over the close season.”