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MARSHALL’S AGE-OLD POSER

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DAVID MARSHALL is hoping he is still in manager Steve Clarke’s thoughts when the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel eventually takes place.

The crucial tie was due to be played in Glasgow this evening, but, of course, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic that has brought football worldwide to a standstill.

The former Celtic keeper, who has taken over as No.1 for his country since Clarke replaced Alex McLeish last year, was looking forward to playing his part in helping the Scots to get a place in a major finals for the first time since the World Cup in France in 1998.

However, the wait will be extended following the news UEFA were forced to push back this summer’s European Championship by 12 months.

Thirty-five-year-old Marshall, now at Wigan, is praying the delay does not scupper his hopes of featuring in a tournament which will see four games staged at Hampden.

The much-travelled shotstopper, who has also played for West Ham, Norwich City, Cardiff City and Hull, told Radio Clyde: “I did think about that when it was announced the Euros was being postponed until next year.

“Obviously, at a certain age, you don’t know where you’re going to be in the next year or so. We’ve got a pretty young squad, so it probably affects me more than most.

“I just need to keep the club form going and, hopefully, I can stay in the team.”

HAT-TRICK HERO…John McGinn celebrates his third goal against Kazakhstan in November.

Marshall also believes the enforced lockdown could help Scotland’s effort with the rest period allowing players struggling to overcome injuries to get back to strength.

The encounter against Nir Bitton and Co has been shelved until at least June, but SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell admits even those plans are “unrealistic”.

Defenders John Souttar, Scott McKenna and Kieran Tierney have all been out of action while midfielder John McGinn has not played since December.

Marshall added: “Football is obviously a massive thing in this country and everyone is missing it so much. We’ve had the big break since November, so this Israel game has been in the back of our minds since then.

“We had a four or five-week lead-in and were even getting sent some footage of Israel and other bits and pieces. It felt like we were getting close and the excitement was building. To have it taken away is disappointing.

“I know we had a few injuries. John McGinn was just coming back and so are a few other boys, but, hopefully by the time the game does take place, everybody will be fit and well and it could maybe be a positive for us.”

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Editor

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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