FOR a while, it has been tough to make a case for Scotland’s defence.
Now, more than ever, that is a major worry.
After all, with England on the horizon, we simply cannot afford to be slack at the back.
At Hampden, our defenders must be able, or they’ll get Kaned.
Harry Kane looked like a hot prospect when he burst on to the scene back in 2014/15 with 32 goals.
Last year, the Tottenham Hotspur star proved he was a top Premier League striker by bagging another 32.
This season, with yet another 32 to his name, he has stepped up into another bracket altogether.
Now he looks like one of the best goal-scorers in the world.
His four strikes against Leicester City in midweek were the high-point of another incredible campaign.
They were also a stark warning for Scotland.
This lad means business in front of goal – and he gets his business done week-in, week-out against quality defenders.
Unfortunately for Scotland, that means he does it against better defenders than Gordon Strachan has at his disposal.
I’m not going to stick the boot into the guys in Gordon’s squad at present. There’s no point.
It’s not their fault we have produced very few top quality defenders over the last couple of decades.
The likes of Grant Hanley, Russell Martin, Gordon Greer and Charlie Mulgrew have made very good careers for themselves and fair play to them for that.
They’ve reached a decent level and earn more than decent wages.
But the days of Scotland turning out rock-solid centre-halves are long gone.
I’d have backed the likes of Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Alan Hansen, Davie Narey, Richard Gough, and Colin Hendry against England’s current crop.
Those guys were tough and uncompromising, but they were also very, very good footballers.
That is what we are lacking at present, and against England, with Kane spearheading the attack, we could be made to pay.
I’ve kept a close eye on Harry’s progress over the last three seasons.
As a former Spurs player, I always take an interest in goings on at White Hart Lane.
The fans there have been waiting for a striker like Kane for a good while – and they absolutely deserve to have him.
But it can only be a matter of time until one of Europe’s giant clubs comes along to test how much the club wants to keep him.
It happened with Gareth Bale. It will happen with Harry Kane.
The difference this time is the real sense that Spurs are a club on the up.
They have a new stadium in the pipeline, a fantastic team on the pitch and a fantastic manager in Mauricio Pochettino.
They also have a striker, in Kane, who is knocking on the door of being world class.
It’s not just his goals.
They speak for themselves. It’s also his athleticism, his touch and his movement.
He has been a joy to watch this season.
But I fear that unless Scotland’s defenders put in a heroic shift at Hampden, I’ll be watching him break our hearts.
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