The 6 Hearts and Hibs players waiting to find out their Scotland Euros fate

Steve Clarke will name his 26-man Scotland squad for this summer's European Championships on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:45 pm

The announcement is eagerly anticipated across the country, after all this is the nation’s first tournament since 1998.

Within both the Hearts and Hibs squads, there will be plenty of intrigue and some apprehension with regards to who does and doesn’t make it.

We look at the players from the Capital duo who have a chance, however slight, of being called up.

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet and Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon were included in the last Scotland squad.
Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet and Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon were included in the last Scotland squad.

Craig Gordon

The 38-year-old has had an excellent season on his return to Tynecastle, 12 years after leaving in a record transfer to Sunderland. He was included in the PFA Scotland’s Championship team of the year having been shortlisted for the player of the season. He arguably deserved to pip team-mate Liam Boyce to the award due to a number of stirring displays. He came up with big moments time and again for Hearts in both the league and cup.

Gordon thwarted Kevin Nisbet from scoring a header in the Scottish Cup semi-final with a wonderful save, while there were notable moments in games against Inverness CT, Dundee and Dunfermline Athletic to name but a few.

Since October 2018, he has played just twice for the national team but crucially started the last game against Faroe Islands.

Hearts defender John Souttar has just returned from injury.

Verdict: A definite inclusion in Clarke's squad.

Paul McGinn

When the 30-year-old arrived from St Mirren in 2020, few could have expected the positive impact he would have at Easter Road. A largely unfashionable signing, he is one of Jack Ross’ trusted lieutenants. All good teams need players who are versatile and who are consistent and can be relied upon. McGinn ticks all boxes.

His flexibility means Hibs can switch between a back three and back four and it would certainly appeal to Clarke. Steady on the ball, anticipates, reads the game well and has shown his ability going forward whether that is with attacking responsibility or as a support mechanism for those in front of him.

Paul McGinn has been excellent for Hibs this season.

McGinn’s excellent form at the start of the season was rewarded not only with a new contract but a Scotland call-up as well, albeit he didn't feature.

Verdict: Very unlikely. A number of players ahead of him in the wing-back and centre-back positions.

Ryan Porteous

At times it has been a contrasting campaign for the 22-year-old. He's been part of a robust defence, putting in a number of solid performances you want from a centre-back, but the season has been scattered with egregious errors, such as the ones at Livingston and at home to St Johnstone in the last couple of months.

Porteous is very much a marmite defender in Scotland, splitting opinion between the future of Scotland's defence to overrated liability. Significant interest from England and praise from those who have managed him suggest it is the former than the latter.

The defender is underrated in a number of aspects, notably his possession play. Steve Clarke would be getting a defender who will engage opponents and enjoys the physical side of the game, but also one who is an astute and accurate passer of the ball.

Verdict: Porteous has not featured in recent squads which suggests he is down the pecking order but few Scotland centre-backs have been in hugely impressive form.

John Souttar

In another life, Souttar could well have racked up a number of caps already, certainly more than the three he currently has, and earned himself a big-money move down south or abroad. However, injuries have plagued his career since moving to Hearts in 2016.

The 24-year-old returned from his third Achilles injury back in April. Yet, having not kicked a ball in over a year, he hit the ground running, as if he had been playing all this time. Such assured displays, even in Scotland’s second tier, has led to calls for his inclusion, albeit from those of a maroon persuasion, including ex-Hearts boss Craig Levein.

Verdict: It’s hard to see Clarke opting for a player whose game time since injury in February 2020 amounts to matches against Alloa, Morton, Inverness CT and Raith Rovers.

Paul Hanlon

The 31-year-old is someone who appears to be growing in stature the older he gets. Hanlon, before a three-year spell in the Championship, is someone who was criticised for being easily bullied by strikers. Since returning to the Premiership, the centre-back has largely been solid and reliable.

Hanlon is a front-foot defender, his know-how improving with experience. He recorded the fifth most interceptions in the league season just past. But other metrics display just how rounded a defender Hibs have. He was top ten for defensive duel success rate, aerial duel success rate and shots blocked.

At the start of the season, a Scotland call-up and first cap for the country would not have been expected by many, even less would have expected it to come on the left.

Verdict: A fine season for Hibs but another where it is difficult to see a surprise call-up.

Kevin Nisbet

One of the signings of the season in the Scottish Premiership. The striker has been a snip at a six-figure fee and will surely make Hibs a significant profit, and could have already done so in January.

Despite a dip around the turn of the year and the transfer request farrago, Nisbet has shown his capability as a refined and rounded striker. He can drop deep, combine and link, work laterally, stretch play and score goals. It is clear to see the skills he would bring to the Scotland attack.

The most impressive aspect of Nisbet's career is his ability to step up. Thirty-four goals for a League One Raith Rovers, 23 for Championship Dunfermline Athletic and now 18 in all competitions for Premiership Hibs.

Verdict: With the increased squad of 26, he has every chance to be chosen.

Read More

Read More
Hibs or St Johnstone may no longer have guaranteed group-stage football as Uefa ...