CELTIC pair James Forrest and Callum McGregor face the axe from the Scotland line-up for tonight’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Belgium at Hampden.

The Hoops were in the side that lost 2-1 to Russia in Glasgow on Friday night and could make way with manager Steve Clarke ringings the changes in a bold bid to keep the nation’s faint hopes of getting through the group stages to next summer’s finals.

Forrest was substituted by team-mate Ryan Christie during the second-half of the dismal display last week when the Scots failed to hang onto a 10th-minute opening strike from John McGinn.

Christie, who looked lively when he was introduced to the action, is a certainty to start against the world’s No.1 country this evening and there could also be places for Robert Snodgrass, Kenny McLean and Matt Phillips.

Oli McBurnie and goalscorer McGinn could also move onto the substitutes’ bench.

Boss Clarke, speaking to The Sun, said: “With such a short space between the games you are always going to get one or two knocks and one or two a little tired.

“Tactically it will probably be slightly different.”

RYAN JACK has been sent home early from international duty with Scotland.

The Ibrox midfielder has been ruled out of tonight’s tie against Belgium due to injury.

Steve Clarke told The Sun: “Ryan has gone back to Rangers.

“He had a little bit of swelling on his knee on Friday and was prepared to sit on the bench.

“But on Saturday there was more swelling and Rangers decided to go safety first.”

Clarke also took the decision to return Hearts star Steven Naismith to the Edinburgh outfit, He added: “Naismith was close. I could’ve pushed him, but I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

PEDRO CAIXINHA is a frontrunner for the manager’s post at Sporting Lisbon who have just sacked Marcel Keizer.

The former Rangers boss was recently fired by Mexican outfit Cruz Azul, despite leading them to Copa Mexica and SuperCopa triumphs.

However, they slumped to 11th in the league following just two wins in eight games this term and Caixinha was axed.

Caixinha had a disastrous 229-day reign at Ibrox after taking over from caretaker Graeme Murty in 2017 with the club finishing third behind Celtic and Aberdeen.

GARY CALDWELL believes his Partick Thistle side is “too nice” at times and wasn’t upset when veteran striker Kenny Miller had a heated exchange with his own defenders in the 2-0 Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup win at Montrose on Saturday.

The former Old Firm frontman made his feelings known before the Firhill side eased through to the next round courtesy of strikes from the ex-Scotland international and Joe Cardle.

Caldwell, speaking to ptfc.co.uk, said: “I think sometimes we’re too nice, so I’m delighted to see that in our game occasionally.

“We’re on the pitch to win and do well and in order to do that we must demand the most from each other. If that requires some harsh words, then so be it.

“When we get off the pitch we can discuss and analyse, but sometimes that is the spark we need.”

JAMES McPAKE understood the fans’ furious reaction following Dundee’s 2-1 defeat from League 2 outfit Elgin City in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup at Dens Park.

The frustrated home support vented their anger at full-time as the part-time Highlanders celebrated their shock victory.

Asked if he could understand the backlash from the the followers, the Tayside boss, speaking to the Dundee Courier, replied: “Absolutely. They are the people who come week in, week out no matter who is in charge of this football club.

“So, I do understand. I need to look at what our team did wrong and as a group. Over the next couple of days we need to sit down and dig deep to work out what is going wrong.

“It doesn’t matter who you are playing, that second-half display was nowhere near acceptable for a club this size.

“Fair play to Elgin, they deserved to win the game, there is no doubt about that.”

* SCOTZINE has had a new look as the magazine is determined to deliver the up-to-date news, comments, opinions and features Scottish football fans deserve. That’s our promise. Thank you for your support.


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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