Steve Clarke insisted he wouldn’t be losing any sleep over his Euro 2024 squad selection just yet with about six months to go before he has to name his final 23 players who will be on the plane to Germany.
There is plenty of football to be played between now and then, there will be the inevitable injuries to players that will rule them out of selection and of course there is a quartet of Newcastle United stars who are all eligible for England and have Three Lions aspirations but who Clarke is seemingly keen on switching allegiances.
Will he be able to convince one, two, three or all four of Anthony Gordon, Harvey Barnes, Elliot Anderson and Tino Livramento? And if so who makes way? How long does Clarke even give those players to make a decision? There is certainly a lot to think about for Clarke - who was able to pick three more players for his Euro 2020 squad after UEFA increased the number due to Covid - and one thing is for certain - plenty of players will be left disappointed at missing out on the chance of a lifetime of representing Scotland at a major tournament.
Any international manager will tell you that letting down those unlucky players is the most difficult conversation but who, out of those under consideration, are most of risk of missing out? Here, Record Sport looks at the most like likely candidates.
After making his debut against France the previous month, the Hearts man got the nod for the final two Group A qualifiers with Angus Gunn out injured and picked the ball out of the net five times over the two games and looked uncomfortable against Norway. Much will depend on Craig Gordon’s fitness but if Clark’s Jambos team-mate is back then he will likely mean he has reclaimed the gloves in Gorgie. That could work against him and, with Gunn No. 1, it leaves one goalkeeping spot which could go to Liam Kelly if he's playing regularly.
Any nation in the world would miss Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney and it probably meant there was more focus on the Celtic man playing in the left back role. But Norway exploited him and the 26-year-old has also struggled at Champions League level for his club at times this season. Clarke gave him his big international break but might have to take sentiment out of it with his old Kilmarnock full back.
Rangers man has been out injured recently and that has hampered his international career. Will really need to an extended run of games because on top form he would be in with a real chance but Clarke might prefer other central defensive options such as the experience of Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper.
The Blackburn man made his debut as a late substitute in the sensational campaign-defining win over Norway in Oslo. He was called up earlier as a replacement for the injured Jack Hendry but unlikely to make the cut.
The Rangers star suffered injury heartache two years ago when he missed the title-winning season run-in with his club and then the Euros. A favourite of Clarke’s and in with a shout if he can stay injury free and produce his best for Rangers but he might just be a victim of the embarrassment of riches Scotland has in midfield.
The Luton Town man was handed his first start in a Scotland shirt which surprised many, given Lawrence Shankland grabbed the leveller and the headlines a few days earlier in Georgia. But the Hatters and former Stoke City striker didn't do enough in his 70 minutes to suggest he could be the third striker on the plane behind Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes and Shankland would be the most likely to fill that space as it stands.
The former Hibs man featured as a substitute in all three of Scotland’s Euro 2020 matches after gatecrashing Clarke’s squad and has 10 caps. But he’s fallen down the pecking order and was out of the squad for two years before earning a recall this summer. The Millwall man was forced to withdraw through injury for the Spain and France double header last month and will have to recapture form he showed at Easter Road to have any chance.
Goalkeepers: Angus Gunn, Craig Gordon, Liam Kelly
Defenders: Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey, Nathan Patterson, Ryan Porteous, Scott McKenna, Grant Hanley, Jack Hendry, Liam Cooper
Midfielders: Callum McGregor, Billy Gilmour, Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong, Lewis Ferguson , Ryan Christie, Kenny McLean
Strikers: Che Adams, Lyndon Dykes, Lawrence Shankland