ANTHONY RALSTON has been handed a dramatic late-night World Cup call-up into the Scotland squad, as CQN urged yesterday.
The rejuvenated Celtic right-back has at last been recognised by boss Steve Clarke after his impressive club form since the start of the season that saw him rewarded with a four-year contract extension by delighted gaffer Ange Postecoglou earlier this month.
CQN pushed for Ralston to be brought into the international squad after pointing out Nathan Patterson would be banned for the final Qatar 2022 qualifier against section winners Denmark at a sell-out Hampden tomorrow night.
CAPITAL PERFORMANCE…Anthony Ralston is congratulated by Josip Juranovic and Mikey Johnston after his goal in the 3-1 win over Hibs at Easter Road last month.
The Ibrox kid picked up a second booking in Friday night’s 2-0 win in Moldova which automatically saw him suspended for the visit of the Danes.
That left Clarke with his former Kilmarnock defender Stephen O’Donnell, of Motherwell, as his only other natural No.2 in his pool of players.
Promoting Ralston looked a logical step and, thankfully, the manager took that route as the 22-year-old Hoops star was brought into the top squad for the first time.
Reflecting on the four-goal Celtic defender, Clarke said: “Tony’s been given a chance by a manager who trusts him a lot to put him in there.
“He’s stuck by him and credit to the player, he’s taken his chance. He has probably been waiting for it for a long time but he’s really taken it.
POWER PLAY…Anthony Ralston in the thick of the action in the 4-2 win over Dundee last weekend.
“Any time I’ve seen him for Celtic this season, he’s been really impressive.
“I did try to call him up to one of the previous squads, but, unfortunately, a Covid issue put paid to that.
“It’s nice to have him here now.”
Clarke, speaking to the Sunday Mail, added: “Nathan Patterson and Stephen O’Donnell have both done well for us in the right wing-back position.
“Celtic obviously play in a different way to us, but Tony has attributes that could make him a good wing-back or right-back.
“It will be good to have him in the camp and we’ll have a good look at him in the training sessions.”