Here’s Hoping Alex McLeish Gives Scotland A Back Three!


The SFA have finally confirmed that they have a new national team boss. Alex McLeish has returned to the job and will be hoping to guide Scotland to Euro 2020 qualification.

His appointment doesn’t have me jumping up and down with excitement nor does it have me down in the dumps with disappointment. I think he was one of the better options still available to the SFA and he has the experience to give us a fighting chance when it comes to our chances of qualifying for our first major tournament since the World Cup in France back in 1998.

In my opinion, the best way to succeed is by changing things at the back. During the Gordon Strachan era, our defence was often the area that proved to be our weakest-link.

I’d plump for a back three if I were McLeish, as I believe we have the personnel to make that tactic work for us. Plus if we are weak in central defence, then surely it makes sense to add an extra player in that position.

Scotland’s top flight have an abundance of talented central defenders coming through at our biggest clubs.

Ross McCrorie and David Bates have been impressive at Rangers, Hearts have an exciting young defensive talent in John Souttar, Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna has had a terrific season so far at Pittodrie and Hibs have a great prospect in Ryan Porteous.

You can then add Celtic new boy Jack Hendry. The twenty-two year old centre-back shone for Dundee in the first half of the season before moving to the Scottish Premiership champions.

It’s starting to look like we are on the verge bringing through a good crop of young Scottish central defenders.

Now I’m not suggesting we throw all of them into the senior first team straight away but having a three man defence you can certainly add one, maybe even two, in there beside a more experienced campaigner.

I don’t think Alex would be foolish enough to dump the likes of Christophe Berra, Charlie Mulgrew or Russell Martin. They could be vital in bringing out the best from the younger defenders. They have the experience to talk the new stars though the tougher international fixtures.

Having three central defenders would then give us two wing-backs. You could have Andrew Robertson on the left, his performances for Liverpool lately have been fantastic.

That could mean that you add Kieran Tierney as your left-sided centre back. The Celtic star is fast becoming one of Scotland’s best talents. While he’s a natural left back; he’s smart enough to play centrally, disciplined enough to stay there and he’s strong in the tackle too. He also has the pace needed to cover for any mistakes others in defence might make.

At right back we aren’t at our strongest but players such as Calum Paterson and Ikechi Anya could flourish as right wing-backs. Maybe you could also get James Forrest or Motherwell’s Chris Cadden to adapt to that position.

All in all, I really think it would make sense for Scotland to go for a formation which has three at the back. We need to get our young talented defenders a chance to shine on the international stage and we have others in the squad that can help their development. It could also solve our defensive problems that have been lingering for too long now.

Leave a Reply