Scotland v Denmark: Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston given first Scotland call-up


Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston
Anthony Ralston has scored four goals in 23 Celtic appearances this season

Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston has been called into the Scotland squad for Monday’s World Cup qualifier against Denmark.

It follows the suspension that rules out Nathan Patterson after the Rangers player received a second booking after scoring in Friday’s win over Moldova.

It is the first time Ralston has been called into the senior squad.

The 22-year-old has had an outstanding season with Celtic after the arrival of Ange Postecoglou as manager.

Ralston, a product of the Celtic’s youth system who had loan spells with Queen’s Park, Dundee United and St Johnstone, had struggled for game time with his parent club until the Australian took charge this summer and has gone on to score four goals in 23 appearances.

He has played for Scotland at under-21 level but made his last appearance at that level in 2018.

Ralston will compete for a starting place with Motherwell’s Stephen O’Donnell as Scotland, having secured a runners-up spot in Group F, host the runaway leaders needing at least a draw to secure a seeded spot in the World Cup play-off semi-finals.

His addition to the squad comes after head coach Steve Clarke admitted he has a “difficult” selection dilemma – having to balance his desire to push for a seeded place in the play-offs with the need to ensure Scotland go into their semi-final without a number of players.

Eight players, including O’Donnell, are one booking away from a suspension heading into the sell out at Hampden Park.

Captain Andy Robertson, centre-half Jack Hendry, midfielders Scott McTominay, John McGinn and Billy Gilmour, plus strikers Che Adams and Kevin Nisbet, are the others.

Five of those players started in Chisinau, while McTominay missed out with a throat infection but has not been ruled out of Monday’s game, while midfielder Ryan Christie and striker Lyndon Dykes return after their bans against Moldova.

“It’s a difficult one, but it’s part and parcel of the process of any qualification campaign – you have to deal with yellow cards,” Clarke said.

“Sometimes your squad is tested. We have shown we can be missing two or three players and still be very competitive. That’s how we will look at it.”

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