IT’S official. Scotland will stick with the status quo for next month’s crucial clash with England.
Gordon Strachan is going nowhere and the mood in the Tartan Army camp is plummeting ‘down, down, deeper and down’.
But I reckon a change on the park rather than in the dug-out could yet have those same fans Rockin’ All Over Wembley.
It’s as simple as this – we need to bring back Scott Brown.
It might seem like a big ask, considering he only retired from international football three games ago.
It might also seem like a road Scotland’s famously single-minded manager will be reluctant to head down.
Never mind all that.
As far as I’m concerned, Wee Gordon should be on his hands and knees begging his former captain to return.
That’s how serious our situation is. That’s how much we have missed him.
I’ve got a lot of time for Darren Fletcher, just like everyone else. He’s a fantastic guy, a top footballer and a deserving Scotland captain.
But the games against Lithuania and Slovakia have shown that he benefits greatly from having someone with Brown’s tenacity alongside him in midfield.
Barry Bannan and James McArthur – both of whom are also great players by the way – haven’t cut the mustard.
That’s not their fault – it’s simply not their game.
But our midfield failings in the last two games have proved that, without Brown, we lack any sort of bite whatsoever.
Since he called time on his Scotland career, Scott has gone from strength-to-strength at club level.
In the Premiership and in the Champions League, his performances for Celtic have been excellent – and they’re getting even better.
But even if he had been as subdued as he was last season under Ronny Deila, I’d still be calling for him to return to the national side.
We can’t hide from it – we need the guy!
If Gordon has any hope of persuading him to come back, it’s going to need a big shift in Broony’s thinking.
He has credited his sparkling form for Celtic to the extra rest time his departure from the Scotland camp has afforded him.
I don’t doubt there’s truth to that. Scott is 31 after all. And he knows his own body.
But the Celtic man has also spoken on multiple occasions of the pride he felt every time he pulled on a Scotland jersey.
That’s the sentimental tone Scotland’s manager needs to strike.
Whether or not he’s willing to do that – or whether or not he is able to – is something I can’t speculate on. But I honestly believe it’s something Gordon SHOULD be doing.
Our campaign is dangling by a thread. Again. And this time it only took three matches.
The performances have been disappointing – yes, even in Malta – while the last two results have been devastating.
Gordon Strachan has lamented the resources at his disposal on more than one occasion – and Wembley is looking like the Last Chance Saloon.
It’s time to give Broony a bell.
Without him, I fear our World Cup hopes will be carried out in a body bag.
Timeline: Strachan’s tenure as Scotland boss