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Ex-Scotland and Celtic star says Anthony Ralston ‘ready to grab his chance’



STEPHEN McMANUS says Anthony Ralston has spent his whole life preparing for a game like Friday’s.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for a player who looked on his way out of his boyhood club when Ange Postecoglou took charge three years ago.


The 25-year-old has been given his opportunity after injuries to Aaron Hickey and Nathan PattersonCredit: Getty
Ralston starred in Friday's friendly draw with Finland up against former Celt, Teemu Pukki (left)


Ralston starred in Friday’s friendly draw with Finland up against former Celt, Teemu Pukki (left)Credit: Kenny Ramsay

But former Hoops defender McManus — now the club’s first team coach — insists Ralston is ready to grab his chance.

McManus, who won 26 caps, said: “You need to prepare for your moment and that’s the hardest part for any young player, or any player in general.

“Can you have that mindset no matter what happens, no matter who’s in front of you?

“You had Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson, who have done tremendously well, and now Anthony has the chance.

“But if he prepares for it — and he does that every minute of every day with how he leads his life at the club, away from the club, how dedicated he is, how hard he works — then when your chance comes, you’ll be in a place to take it.

“That’s Anthony’s mindset all the time. He’s rarely injured, he’s always on the training pitch, his availability’s incredible. That’s because of how dedicated he is to his profession.”

Brendan Rodgers gave Ralston, now 25, his chance during his first spell before sending him on unsuccessful loans to Dundee United and St Johnstone.

Something sparked when Postecoglou took over and he hasn’t looked back, signing a new four-year deal in September.

Now he’s in line for a dream tenth cap as the curtain goes up on the tournament.

McManus feels the way Ralston has had to fight for his Parkhead career means he won’t be fazed taking on the likes of Florian Wirtz and Co.

Watch the hilarious moment Scotland star John McGinn joins in Bavarian DANCE ahead of Euro 2024

He said: “There are no specific career paths for any player. Every career path can be different.

“The only thing you can guarantee about young players is you’ll face adversity and it’s how you cope when things don’t go your way.

“There’s no better role model. He went on loan, he went to different clubs then he came back and has kicked on. He’s such an important member of our squad and now he’s got the opportunity to hopefully play at the Euros. It’s all down to him.

“He’s worked tremendously hard and dedicated himself to his profession every single day. He’s a brilliant example to all the young players at our club.

“What he’s achieved shows he’s such a resilient character.

“Whether it’s loss of form or confidence, it can happen to any young player and it’s about how you recover and bounce back and make sure you don’t get affected by that.

“But when you have success it’s important you don’t get too carried away by the success.

“When you look at Anthony, James Forrest, Callum McGregor, for these boys it’s always onto the next one.

“When you achieve success at our club you enjoy that moment in the summer, but as soon as you come back you focus on what’s next to win the next trophy. That’s the mindset of the boys going with Scotland.”


McManus says playing for Celtic and working under boss Rodgers again will help Ralston, Forrest and McGregor to not get carried away amid all the drama.

He added: “It’s not just Anthony. If you look at the squad we have, they are playing at the top level week in, week out.

“They’ve all been involved in big games, in previous European Championships. That brings a calming influence to the ones who are maybe coming into the squad for the first time.

“That influence is the biggest factor in this Scotland squad. You look at the manager and his staff, they are ice cold in the big moments and the players will be the same going into the Germany game.

“They will be going out to win. It’s not a case of just being delighted to be there. They’re going to compete and to see how far they can go. The mentality has changed.

“It’s a big occasion, but you deal with it. You ignore the madness on the outside.”

Read more on the Scottish Sun

McManus was promoting the Refugee World Cup Scotland 2024 which takes place on Sunday June 23 at the Toryglen Regional Football Centre.

The event celebrates the diversity of communities in Scotland through football while standing up for the rights of refugees.

Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page

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