Zander Clark should have a place in the Scotland squad for Euro 2020 in his sights, according to St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson.
David Marshall’s status as Steve Clarke’s number one goalkeeper would appear to be written in ink, with Hampden Hall of Famer Craig Gordon almost equally certain to be the Serbia penalty shoot-out hero’s back-up in the summer.
But the third and final spot in the 23-man pool is up for grabs.
Jon McLaughlin was selected for the last Scotland squad but he is not getting Premiership game-time for Rangers.
And the other keeper called up recently, Robby McCrorie, is only 22.
Clark has been virtually flawless since he came back into the Saints’ side at the end of September after picking up an injury in pre-season.
And his latest performance at Celtic Park was one that ought to have caught Steve Clarke’s eye.
Asked whether Clark should be aiming to be at the summer Euros, Davidson said: “I think so.
“That will be the ambition for all the younger goalies. Zander is still young in terms of a keeper’s age.
“It’s great seeing him back playing with the confidence that I know he’s got, producing saves when we need him to.
“Long may that continue.
“Like the rest of the squad here, I’m very happy to have him.”
It is a credit to the Saints players in front of him that Clark has seldom been in contention for a man of the match award since he returned to the starting line-up.
Celtic didn’t pepper him with shots as they had in previous fixtures between the two sides but there were at least three high quality saves that needed to be made on Sunday.
“I told Zander afterwards that he has helped us get that point,” said Davidson.
“He pulled off a couple of tremendous saves – making his body big in the first half with the Edouard chance and in the second half the deflected shot was probably the pick of them.
“It showed why having a keeper like Zander is so important.
“He hasn’t really had much to do since he came back into the team and it will be great for him to have been such a big part of getting a draw at Parkhead.”
Clark’s performance was one of many impressive facets to St Johnstone’s display in the 1-1 draw with the champions, a result that extended their unbeaten run to a record-breaking 11 matches.
Stevie May was just as effective out wide as he had been in previous games through the middle.
Another feature was the slick adaptation the side – in particular the front-three – made when Michael O’Halloran had to be substituted midway through the first half.
Not only did Chris Kane pick up the pace of the game straight away as the new number nine, Stevie May was just as effective out wide as he has been in previous games through the middle, and David Wotherspoon took the switch of flanks in his stride.
For a training ground coach, there can be few more gratifying observations on a match-day than seeing players prove they have absorbed the intricacies of more than one role and can make sure an injury to a key team-mate doesn’t disrupt the efficiency of the unit.
“The players know this system and the structures within it,” said Davidson.
“They understood what we wanted to do and that continued to be the case when I had to bring Chris on for Michael.
“It’s a credit to Kano, Stevie and David, as well as the rest of the players for responding the way they did.
“They all carried out the game-plan very well.”
The savvy and flexibility of David Wotherspoon have been spoken about at great length in the first few months of the season. It’s a conversation that needs to be heard regarding May as well.
“I’ll always remember that Stevie went out to the left for us in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup (against Aberdeen in 2014),” said Davidson.
“He knows the role.
“His fitness levels on Sunday were tremendous.
“We’ve seen a massive improvement in him as the season has gone on. He’s getting goals and there was an assist at the weekend after a great ball from Scott. He’s just getting better and better.
“People don’t talk about his game intelligence. That’s has definitely grown over the years. It’s something that comes with experience.
“Playing down south will have helped.
“We’re playing a front-three just now and he could play anywhere along that.
“We’ve had three away games in a row and he’s played three different roles. He was part of a front-two at Hibs in a slightly different system.
“It’s really important that my front players are able to adapt when we alter formations between games and during them.”