Do players want to play for Scotland anymore?
This squad has had more call-offs than Theresa May’s cabinet, with 12 to date and counting.
Alex McLeish loses players quicker than a drunken Las Vegas gambler squanders his chips.
It’s not been a good week for the Scotland boss.
Along with numerous dropouts, overlooking St Johnstone’s Zander Clark and Livingston’s Liam Kelly, who are both in fine form, in favour of Celtic keeper Scott Bain, who warms the Parkhead bench, looks like a misjudgement.
Some of those who have withdrawn have injury concerns but there’s a creeping sense that players don’t want to be associated with the catalogue of failure which is a feature of the McLeish reign to date.
The Scotland jersey is in danger of becoming devalued as a football currency.
When it looks like players no longer want to represent their country it’s a sad day and shows how far we have fallen as a football nation.
Perhaps the risks to club careers in games against the might of Albania and Israel in the Nations league double header is too great.
Reputations can be badly affected and futures hampered by poor performances on the international stage, which is guaranteed wide and potentially damaging exposure.
A Scotland cap was once a badge of honour, for some it now looks like a badge of shame.
~ The international weekend can be a curse or a blessing for club sides.
St Johnstone and Dundee United may be ruing the interruption, with both being in fabulous form, while Dundee may be glad of the break to reassess their style of play and to work on their organisation as they look for their first win under their new boss Jim McIntyre.
That win will come I’m sure but McIntyre’s near counterparts Tommy Wright and Robbie Neilson’s worries are of the more relaxed variety.
Both men have their teams flying and with Saints on a five-game winning streak without conceding a goal, and United unbeaten in Neilson’s five matches in charge so far, the sun is shining on the righteous at McDiarmid Park and Tannadice.
Wright has reduced the average age of his Saints squad and brought an added vibrancy and tempo to their play. There’s a sense of belief in the squad which can take them to a top-six finish.
Neilson has organised United and given them a sense of direction and purpose, with players now knowing exactly what their roles are. A squad which was underachieving significantly has been transformed into one which has the winning mentality needed to take the Championship title.
At Dens, McIntyre has different problems with a squad with sorely depleted confidence. This break gives him a much-needed opportunity to hammer home the basics of the game – defending, attacking and ultimately winning.