SCOTLAND coach James McFadden hopes the players adopt a shoot-on-sight policy in the UEFA Nations League games against Albania on Saturday and Israel a week tonight.

And the former international hero believes it is time for the midfielders to step up and be counted.

Remarkably, only Stuart Armstrong has scored for his country while his current team-mates have fired blanks.

Celtic trio James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie have yet to get off the mark for Scotland and it’s the same story with the likes of John McGinn, Ryan Fraser, Callum Paterson and Scott McTominay.

ON THE RUN…Stuart Armstrong is the only scorer in Scotland’s midfield.

McFadden said: “It does need to change. We have to have goals coming from all areas of the pitch because in the squad there isn’t a lot of goals.

“It’s the ideal opportunity for guys to come in and score goals. It’s not like we’re asking them to do something they can’t do. We just need them to step up and, hopefully, the guys who we pick will do that.”

Looking at Christie’s recent contribution at Brendan Rodgers’ champions, the ex-Motherwell, Everton and Birmingham star said: “He’s a hard worker, great technically, he can score goals from the outside the box, stepping on to it with his left foot.

“We had him in early squads because we knew how good a player he was and he’s finally got his chance at Celtic. He’s waited a long time for it, but he’s taken it.

ON THE BALL…Ryan Christie could be handed a key role in Albania.

“I said after the semi-final he looked like the Ryan Christie who played for Aberdeen – and by that I meant he looked comfortable. He looked as if he deserved to be there and I think that was great to see.

“He was coming off the bench before and maybe not having the impact he did against Hearts. He played well in the European game in midweek, as well.

“I’m glad he’s got his chance because everybody knows I’m a big fan of young Scottish players and I want to see every one of them doing well. It’s great he’s stuck it out at Celtic and he’s getting a lot of praise recently. That’s great for us, as well.

”I’m delighted for him. He’s a great kid off the pitch and he’s added that wee bit of aggression.”

Christie could be handed a key role in Albania while McFadden reckoned his Hoops team-mate McGregor is showing signs he can be Scott Brown’s international successor.

BACK TO THE FUTURE…role change has been great for Callum McGregor. Pics: Geo.

The national coach added: “Callum is a very intelligent football player. He has shown he can play anywhere. You talk about foreign players being technical, Callum is up there.

“He’s stepped into the breach in Scott Brown’s absence, creating chances and making defence-splitting passes from deep.

“Over the past year or two, people were shouting for him to get into the Scotland team.

“We’ve had him in the team and we hope he can show the kind of form he has for Celtic when he’s selected for us.

“I think it coincides with the form Celtic are showing now. They are really kicking on at league level and that can only benefit us.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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