STEVE Clarke last night admitted he was delighted with the central midfield partnership that Rangers player Ryan Jack and his Celtic counterpart Callum McGregor struck up in Scotland’s last two Euro 2020 qualifiers.

And the national manager admitted he could have a major selection headache when the play-off semi-final comes around in March if Kenny McLean of Norwich City and Manchester United man Scott McTominay are available again.

Jack and McGregor started in both the 2-1 win over Cyprus in Nicosia on Saturday and the 3-1 triumph against Kazakhstan at Hampden on Wednesday evening in the absence of McLean and McTominay.

The pair, who are more used to squaring up to each other in the Glasgow derby match than being members of the same team, gelled well and helped the country to finish third in Group I behind Belgium and Russia.


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“I thought the balance in midfield in both games with Ryan and Callum was really good,” said Clarke. “I’m not really surprised with Ryan because I have obviously seen him up close when I was manager of Kilmarnock. I knew the qualities that he had. The European experience that he’s getting playing with his club will also stand him in good stead. Listen, he has done himself a power of good in the two games.”

Asked if Jack would retain his place in the Scotland side for the play-off semi-final next year if McLean and McTominay are back in the squad, Clarke said: “I don’t know because it’s four months away and I don’t know who we’ll have, I don’t know who will be fit. That is probably one to speculate on a little bit when we get to March. But that will be a nice choice to have. As a manager I want as many difficult choices as I can get.”