Mark Warburton has every right to put his own football club first, and defend his QPR players.
If the former Rangers manager is a bit miffed at Lyndon Dykes starting all three of Scotland’s games last week, then that is his entitlement.
However, it is also well within Steve Clarke’s rights to pick his strongest team, and the line-up he believes will take Scotland to victory.
That was the case in the three recent games against Israel, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Scotland emerged victorious in all three. Indeed, Lyndon scored the winner against Slovakia, and also slipped in Ryan Fraser with a lovely, weighted pass for the only goal against the Czechs.
It totally justified Steve’s decision – not that he needs to explain himself to any club manager.
The same applies to Mark at Loftus Road.
He can choose any of his players, at any time, and wouldn’t take into account that Scotland might have a game coming up.
For example, do you think Mark will give Lyndon limited game time when they play away to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship five days before Scotland face Serbia in the Euro 2020 play-off?
No, he won’t. And nor should he.
He has to look after his own – just as Steve does.
Did Mark really expect Steve not to pick his strongest team for the last three Scotland fixtures?
I’m sure the national manager will have had the well-being of his players in his mind at all times, and would have had a wee think about the clubs, too.
But it would have been impossible for him to cover everyone’s back.
So I don’t think Mark would have been treated any differently to any other club manager.
But these are the challenges that Steve faces, and he is experienced enough to handle them.
I was delighted for him with the results over the past 10 days.
It just goes to hammer home the point that he is the right man for Scotland.
He was brilliant for me when he was in the backroom staff at Liverpool. He was also brilliant at Kilmarnock, and worked wonders there in his two years.
He won back-to-back Manager of the Year awards from the Scottish Football Writers’ Association.
So everyone was rightly pleased to see him being appointed as the man to try to take us to the Euros.
Steve and the players are just one game away from achieving their goal.
An almighty task awaits them – but they can do it.
My confidence stems from a number of things, but mainly the camaraderie I can see in the squad.
From the outside, it appears it’s a pleasure for the players to be there, and they are enjoying the whole experience.
Look at Andrew Considine. He made his Scotland debut at 33, and was brilliant.
His interview after the Slovakia game was a joy, as he spoke of his pride and emotion at winning his first cap. You could tell every word was genuine.
John McGinn’s performance against the Czechs was also first-class.
He took the armband in the absence of the suspended Andy Robertson, and he led by example.
His last-gasp clearance inside the six-yard box was different class, and he also had the pass of the night to put through Ryan Fraser but he just couldn’t score.
So I could see the togetherness, and the lads all doing their bit.
Sure, giving 100% should be the bare minimum, but it is good to see every player doing it, even the lads coming off the bench.
We were down to the bare bones, in terms of the squad, for the Czech game, but the lads really dug in.
David Marshall was also assured when he needed to be, and Oli McBurnie hit the crossbar.
Yes, the Czechs might feel the score flattered Scotland, and you can understand that.
But our the players won the game, and they deserve credit.
You take plaudits when they come your way, because you never know the minute when it might turn full circle and go against you.
Gareth Southgate is a classic example.
England defeated Belgium, which was a fine achievement, as Roberto Martinez’s men are ranked No. 1 in the world.
Just four days later, however, some people are questioning if Gareth is the right man for the job after they lost 1-0 to Denmark at Wembley.
It just shows how fickle football is.
England were hampered when Harry Maguire was red-carded in the first half, and the Manchester United defender has also received criticism.
Listen, he is a really good player. But he had a bit of an off night and was maybe just a wee bit over committed in the tackle.
That could stem from what he has been through in the past couple of months.
There could be some frustration in there, and if that is the case then it’s understandable.
He’ll come through the other side, and show his qualities and leadership in the weeks and months ahead.
It’s just sad that some people get satisfaction from the demise or failure of others in certain situations.
Why? I don’t get it – and I never will.
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