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THREE CHEERS: HOOPS GREAT HAILS TRIO

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CELTIC great Davie Hay insists the champions will get a spin-off from the Scotland feelgood factor after three Hoops stars played key roles in guiding the international side out of the wilderness.

The Scots claimed a place in their first major finals since the World Cup in France in 1998 when they beat Serbia in Belgrade in the Euro Play-Off Final on Thursday night.

Callum McGregor set up Parkhead team-mate Ryan Christie to score the nation’s goal in the 1-1 draw while Leigh Griffiths tucked away the first penalty-kick in the 5-4 shoot-out triumph where ex-Celt David Marshall made a stunning save from Aleksander Mitrovic to make sure of a place in next summer’s competition.

Hay reckons the competition to win a place in Steve Clarke’s squad for the June games against England, Czech Republic and Croatia will have a positive effect on the club’s international contingent.

The former Parkhead player and manager, who is now a club ambassador, told the Scottish Sun on Sunday: “Leigh Griffiths showed some amount of bottle to step up and take that first penalty.

“The first one and the last one are so important and for a guy who has struggled in recent seasons, I thought it showed a lot of courage.

“If he wants to be in there, he needs to be doing it for Celtic week in, week out. It is to Celtic’s benefit as much as his own that he shows the talent he is capable of now on a consistent basis.”

Hay, now 72, continued: “I thought Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor were both exceptional. To be fair, there wasn’t a failing in that team.

“But there is no question that you draw an immense amount of self-confidence from a result like that and a result that was particularly momentous.

“But now you have a huge incentive, too. There is a European Championship squad to play to get into it and a massive tournament at the end of the season that these players will want to go and shine in.”

Hay was part of the Scotland team that beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 to reach the World Cup Finals in West Germany in 1974 to play in their first major competition since 1958.

He added: “Jock Stein used to say to us that when we went away with Scotland we should come back to Celtic as a better player for the experience.

“It certainly adds another dimension to your game when you are successful in international football.

“There was a strong spine of Celtic players in the squad that got to West Germany – myself, Danny McGrain, Kenny Dalglish, Ally Hunter and George Connelly.

“It helps in a lot of ways because there is a familiarity at club level, but what you would say just now about Steve Clarke’s squad is that there seems to be a real togetherness and camaraderie about them.

“Hopefully, now this can be the start of something, that the momentum builds and we can look forward to a more positive time for the national team.”

* EXCLUSIVE: ‘THE THREE AMIGOS AND ME’: Don’t miss Davie Hay’s look back at his Celtic days.

 

 

 
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