Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad selection has never been under more scrutiny than it is right now.
The national team boss has weathered the storm in the wake of the 1-1 draw with Luthuania and the 3-0 hammering against Slovakia.
Despite calls for his head, Strachan remains in charge for Scotland’s crunch tie with England at Wembley on Friday night.
Scott Brown‘s U-turn over his international retirement has been the major talking point in the build-up to the World Cup qualifier against the Auld Enemy.
And in the absence of crocked Celtic youngster Kieran Tierney and Hull’s Andy Robertson, either Rangers captain Lee Wallace and Swansea star Stephen Kingsley will be expected to step into left-back.
The latest shock addition to the squad came in the form of 30-year-old Blackburn utility man Charlie Mulgrew, whose inclusion was met with mixed reaction from the Tartan Army.
Former Hoops gaffer Strachan has also raised eyebrows with his decision to start Chris Martin up front rather than last season’s 40-goal man Leigh Griffiths – because Griff, apparently, lacks stature.
Sure, there will always be questionable omissions from the international call-ups – but here we look at some players we feel should definitely be in the squad:
1. Charlie Adam
Charlie Adam has battled his way back into Mark Hughes’ Stoke City side in recent weeks with some impressive displays – and looks to be back at full fitness.
The 30-year-old midfielder’s creativity and experience would go a long way at Wembley in a Scotland side lacking imagination at times.
Adam has racked up 26 international caps so far and would be rightly disappointed not to get his 27th against England.
2. Graeme Shinnie
When Kieran Tierney was ruled out with ankle ligament damage, Graeme Shinnie should have been the first phonecall made by Strachan.
The 25-year-old is a consistently strong performer for Aberdeen and posses a natural leadership about him – something 10 other players on the Wembley pitch just might need beside them.
Shinnie’s ability to push forward into midfield roles – both central and wide – is something that shouldn’t be overlooked by Strachan in future selections.
3. Kenny McLean
Another Aberdeen player makes our list after Kenny McLean missed out on a place in the squad.
The 24-year-old is another top Dons performer and his been instrumental in their pursuit of Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
McLean has dropped further back into midfield of late but did pop up with the goal which sealed Aberdeen’s place in the Betfred Cup Final.
4. Ross McCormack
Gordon Strachan is an admirer of players who play their football in the English Championship.
Whether the right approach or not is debatable. But if that’s the case then surely it makes sense to include the guy with a track record for scoring goals in that division.
Sure, McCormack has found the net just twice since his £12million move to Aston Villa, but his flair and instinct for goal is something being sorely missed up top for Scotland.
5. Stuart Armstrong
Stuart Armstrong’s Celtic rebirth under Brendan Rodgers has been great to watch.
The midfielder has rediscovered the form which saw him win a move to the club from Dundee United in the first place.
He’s bursting with confidence again in that central midfield role – and it could be argued that he was the key change behind the Hoops’ semi-final win over Rangers last month.
Scotland could be screaming out for a player with his energy and intelligence come the latter stages on Friday.
And don’t forget this guy…
How could we forget Celtic superkid Karamoko Dembele?
The 13-year-old midfielder took the footballing world by storm after making an appearance in an under-20s match.
And after he made his Scotland youth debut in the Victory Shield, it might not be too long before we see him pull on the dark blue for real.
That’s if England don’t nick him from under our noses, of course.