Steve Clarke will announce his Scotland squad for this summer’s European Championships on Wednesday.
It will be a moment that makes or breaks the dreams of those hoping to play a part as the nation makes its return to major tournament action after 23 years in the wilderness.
Here PA takes a look at the outside picks who may yet find their way into Clark’s 26-man squad.
The Rangers goalkeeper retired from Scotland duty two years ago, calling it a day after 42 caps in order to focus on his club career. And it is hard to argue it was the wrong decision given the way the 39-year-old has performed for Steven Gerrard’s new Premiership champions. A string of vital stops in Old Firm clashes and big European ties earned him the SPFL player of the year award. But they have also now sparked calls for him to reconsider his Scotland stance – most notably from Kenny Dalglish and Ally McCoist. Current number one David Marshall has seen his form fluctuate since his penalty heroics sealed qualification for this summer’s finals while back-up keeper Craig Gordon has spent the last year playing in the Scottish Championship with Hearts.
What the Chelsea wonderkid lacks in stature he more than makes up for in talent and potential. Calls for the 19-year-old former Rangers youngster to be fast-tracked into Clarke’s squad were sparked as soon as former Stamford Bridge boss Frank Lampard decided he was good enough for a regular slot in his Blues line-up. He has found action harder to come by since Thomas Tuchel took over while Clarke has also so far resisted. But Gilmour’s passing range and ability on the ball have marked him out as a star of the future.
‘Mini Messi’ is all grown up now – but the Farense playmaker looks to have finally shaken off the teething troubles which blighted him in the early years after his move to Portugal. Gauld’s potential was spotted by Sporting Lisbon in 2014 when they paid £3million to prise the then 18-year-old away from Dundee United. But he struggled to break into a star-studded line-up and spent much of his five-year stint with the Lions out on loan, including a six-month spell with Hibs. However, now 25 and settled back at previous loan club Farense, Gauld is finally justifying the early hype having almost single-handedly kept his club in Portugal’s top-flight. Gauld has managed nine man-of-the-match awards, nine goals and seven assists in 33 league matches.
The Ibrox teenager’s entire first-team track record extends to just 16 appearances – seven of which came from the bench. But in that brief body of work, Patterson has been able to demonstrate why Gers boss Gerrard believes he is one of Scotland’s “brightest prospects ever in terms of right-back”. He has strolled through Old Firm examinations and held his own in pressurised European ties, all while still aged just 19. However, his decision to attend an illegal house party earlier this year may yet kill off his Euros hopes after he was issued with a four-game ban, denying him the chance to boost his meagre reserves of experience before the season ended.
In a season of darkness and despair for Celtic supporters, the former Motherwell midfielder has been the one shining light. The 21-year-old had been due to join Celtic two years ago – only for his medical to uncover a knee injury which required immediate surgery. His deal was put on hold by 12 months and even when he did put pen to paper on his Hoops deal, then Parkhead boss Neil Lennon seemed reluctant to throw him into action. But as Celtic’s bid for 10-in-a-row crumbled, Turnbull was able to emerge through the wreckage with 10 goals and eight assists, earning him the PFA Scotland young player of the year award.