RYAN Jack is capable of keeping prized Premier League trio John Fleck, Kenny McLean and Scott McTominay out of the Scotland side in the Euro 2020 play-offs - if he maintains his current form with Rangers until next March.

That was the confident prediction from former Aberdeen, Rangers and Scotland midfielder Jim Bett ahead of the draw for the play-off games in Nyon this afternoon.

Jack started in the national team’s final two Group I matches against Cyprus in Nicosia on Saturday and Kazakhstan in Glasgow on Tuesday and performed well as his country ended a disappointing and unsuccessful qualifying campaign with morale-boosting 2-1 and 3-1 wins.

The 27-year-old was only given the nod by manager Steve Clarke ahead of Sheffield United favourite Fleck after Norwich City man McLean and Manchester United player McTominay withdrew from the squad with injuries.


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However, Bett believes his old Scotland team mate Clarke could be tempted to stick with the four-times capped footballer, who quickly struck up a good partnership with his Celtic rival Callum McGregor in the centre of the park, in future even if McLean and McTominay are available.

He featured regularly for Scotland despite playing at a time when many of his compatriots were representing top clubs in England and overseas and has no doubts that Jack, whose progress he has followed closely since he broke into the first team at Pittodrie, can do exactly the same.

But the Dons great feels that Jack, who has been outstanding for Steven Gerrard’s men at home and abroad in recent months, has to perform well in the Betfred Cup, Ladbrokes Premiership, Europa League and William Hill Scottish Cup in the weeks ahead to keep Fleck, McLean and McTominay out.

“When you are playing for Rangers you are playing at a high level for a really good club with a great history,” said Bett. “That is going to help you when you go into the Scotland team.

“Ryan got his chance because of call-offs, but he did very well. He will expect to stay in the team now, will expect to play in the next match. He will be disappointed if he is overlooked given how well he played in the Cyprus and Kazakhstan matches. I don’t think it will be too big a hurdle for Ryan to start in that play-off game.

“But a lot depends on how well he is playing for his club as well. Steve will take that into consideration. He has got three, four, five players who can all slot into that midfield position. But Ryan did really well and if he is still injury-free and playing well for Rangers then he will expect to play in the next game.


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“If you are confident in your own ability - which Ryan, as you can see from the way he is playing just now, is – then he can handle it no trouble at all. The more games at international level he gets the better he will become. And he is already confident in what he can do.”

Jack, who had previously played for Scotland in friendly internationals against the Netherlands and Belgium, is set, despite being the victim of a shocking foul by Kazakhstan substitute Islambek Kuat at Hampden on Tuesday night, to return to domestic action this weekend. He should line up for Rangers in a league game against Hamilton at the Fountain of Youth Stadium on Sunday.

Bett, who won the League Cup and Scottish Cup during the three seasons that he spent at Ibrox in the 1980s, expects the internationals which the midfielder played for Scotland will enable him to become an even better player and help his old club in their pursuit of silverware.

“Starting for Scotland against Cyprus and Kazakhstan will definitely help Ryan when it comes to playing for Rangers,” he said. “You are playing at a higher level with the national team, playing against a better quality of team and footballer, than you are in most domestic matches."

Bett also believes playing in the Scotland side with the likes of Ryan Christie, James John McGinn, McGregor and Steven Naismith will be a positive experience for Jack.

“I played alongside Graeme Souness,”he said. “It changed a bit. Sometimes Gordon Strachan and Paul McStay were involved as well. But I played alongside Graeme for a long time. I had great admiration for him. He was a tremendous midfield player, definitely one of the country’s greatest ever. Training and playing with guys like that is only god for you.”