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People were shocked to see Gordon dropped from Euros squad but Clarke was right

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SCOTLAND fans were pretty shocked when Craig Gordon was dropped from the Euros squad.

But Steve Clarke had to look after No 1 with his final selection.

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Craig Gordon has played perhaps his last match for ScotlandCredit: PA
Steve Clarke opted to leave the experienced goalkeeper out of his Euro 2024 squad

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Steve Clarke opted to leave the experienced goalkeeper out of his Euro 2024 squadCredit: Getty

Veteran Gordon’s absence from the 26-man pool for Germany raised eyebrows, but I wasn’t surprised at all.

My old Scotland team-mate is one of the greatest keepers our nation has ever produced.

It was good to see him getting his 75th cap against Finland on Friday night.

An unbelievable achievement. Big Craigy should be super proud of his Scotland service.

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Hitting that milestone is even more impressive when you think his career looked over ten years ago after his injury nightmare at Sunderland.

But Gordon battled back then, and also defied the odds to recover from his double leg- break in December 2022.

He will cherish his 75th cap, but I would be astonished if we ever see him in a Scotland jersey again.

It wasn’t the send-off he wanted after giving away a penalty for Finland’s equaliser — and it WAS a penalty.

But Clarke spoke so well about Gordon afterwards, and it was a great touch from the Scotland boss to give him the chance to get a Hampden ovation.

At his best, and in his prime, there is no doubt that big Craigy would have walked into this Scotland team.

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But I have no problem with Clarke’s decision to leave the 41-year-old behind when the squad head for Germany.

Right now, he can’t get in the Hearts starting XI ahead of Zander Clark, who is rightly going to the Euros.

Let’s get this in perspective. It’s a decision that makes sense.

Is seven club games in the best part of 17 months really enough to earn a place in the Euros squad?

Say what you want about Clark and Liam Kelly, but they have hardly missed a match for their clubs in that period.

From Clarke’s side, I can totally understand why he has opted to pick the three keepers he has.

There will be some Scotland fans out there who believe Gordon should be first choice ahead of Angus Gunn.

Not for me. The Norwich City keeper was excellent during qualifying, and will deservedly go to Germany as the No 1. We can’t live in the past. Craigy has been an outstanding goalie and has had an unbelievable career.

But nothing lasts forever. At some point, he was going to come to the end of the road for Scotland.

It’s a shame for him and it must have been really tough news to accept.

Clarke has to take a step back and remove any sentiment — but he has shown over the years that we should trust his judgement.

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Likewise, I feel sorry for John Souttar after he was also dropped from the squad at the last minute.

But when you look at the list of defenders and his recent performances for club and country, it’s not a major shock.

You can also argue that his end-of-season injury came at the worst possible time for Souttar.

The Rangers defender is a good player. At 27, he can still win more caps for Scotland in years to come.

Souttar, though, was always going to find it hard to dislodge one of the central defenders who have made it.

Grant Hanley, Jack Hendry, Ryan Porteous, Scott McKenna, Liam Cooper and Kieran Tierney have all served Clarke well over the years.

Souttar has done well at times for Scotland. But his display off the bench against Netherlands in March didn’t do him any favours. Clarke also had to bring in some extra forward options after Lyndon Dykes and Ben Doak suffered injuries.

Promoting Tommy Conway from the Scotland Under-21s made sense after a strong season in the Championship down south with Bristol City.

But we need to calm the hype around him.

Conway did well against Finland and probably should have scored with a late header.

Let’s give him a chance to settle into the squad. He might be needed at the Euros but he’s very much for the future.

Lewis Morgan probably thought his Scotland career was in the past, and his return after six years is a fairy tale.

The New York Red Bulls forward is only 27, so there is no way he had ever given up on playing for Scotland.

But this time last week he probably feared it would never happen again. Now he’s heading to the Euros.

It’s a brilliant story, and you need to give Morgan so much credit for working his way into Scotland’s plans.

He has been excellent for New York Red Bulls in the MLS, and trust me, having played there for Portland Timbers, it’s a better standard in the States than people think.

Morgan and Conway both came off the bench against Finland, while Scott McTominay and Che Adams got a rest.

Both will start against Germany next Friday, and for me there are probably only two decisions for Clarke now.

Ryan Christie or Billy Gilmour in midfield, and who plays at right wing-back.

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Anthony Ralston and Ross McCrorie have done OK in the friendlies, but I wonder if Clarke could throw a curveball and put Porteous out there against the Germans in Munich.

It would be a big call, but as he showed by dropping Gordon, the Scotland boss isn’t afraid to make difficult decisions.

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