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Celtic And Scotland Butt Heads Again

Is there an adversarial relationship between Celtic and Scotland’s national team again? Earlier this week, Scotland men’s national team manager told the BBC he was “disappointed” that Celtic gaffer Ange Postecoglou opted not to release his players for the friendly in Turkey, which is scheduled for next week during the World Cup break.

Steve Clarke


It should go without saying, unfortunately, that Scotland won’t be represented in Qatar. At issue is that Celtic, too, have friendlies scheduled during the break, against Everton and West Sydney, in Australia.

“The clubs don’t have to release their players and Celtic have chosen not to for this game,” Clarke said. “I’m disappointed, but … it’s a chance for someone else.”

This means Greg Taylor, David Turnbull, James Forrest and Anthony Ralston, among others, will be unavailable to Clarke in Turkey.However, it should be noted that this is “a blanket decision,” as Clarke put it. Meaning: the countries of all players in the Celtic team are affected. And, to be fair, Postecoglou, himself a former national team boss (with Australia), sympathized.

“Steve’s got every right to be disappointed—I’ve been there and I’ve been disappointed,” the Celtic manager told the media this week. “And as club managers we’re sometimes disappointed that players go away and get injured or don’t play. [But] we feel this tour is important for us and it’s been in our planning for quite a while.”


There’s history here, though. During what was Celtic’s most successful period in its history—in the late 1960s and early 1970s—Hoops players eligible to play for Scotland garnered relatively few caps.

There were “larger reasons” (ie, beyond football) for this, of course, but it meant the likes of Jimmy Johnstone finished his career with only 23 national team call-ups.

That began to change by the late 1970s, but given the SFA’s history of pettiness, Postecoglou’s decision could see a return to chilly relations between the national team and the Parkhead club. It could be argued that Celtic do not feature a lot of Scots in key roles, beyond captain Callum McGregor, of course.

The match in Turkey is only a matter of pride for Scotland, and a run-out for squad newbies such as Calvin Ramsay and Lewis Ferguson; however, the match is Scotland’s only scheduled fixture before the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

Scotland Squad To Play Turkey

Craig Gordon Heart of Midlothian
Liam Kelly Motherwell
Robby McCrorie Rangers

Grant Hanley Norwich City
Jack Hendry Cremonese (on loan from Club Brugge KV)
Scott McKenna Nottingham Forest
Nathan Patterson* Everton
Ryan Porteous Hibernian
Calvin Ramsay* Liverpool
Andy Robertson Liverpool
Kieran Tierney Arsenal

Stuart Armstrong Southampton
Lewis Ferguson Bologna
Billy Gilmour* Brighton and Hove Albion
Ryan Jack Rangers
John McGinn Aston Villa
Kenny McLean Norwich City
Scott McTominay Manchester United

Che Adams Southampton
Jacob Brown Stoke City
Ryan Christie AFC Bournemouth
Lyndon Dykes Queens Park Rangers
Ryan Fraser Newcastle United

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