SCOTLAND manager Steve Clarke has dismissed suggestions he has named Ryan Jack in his provisional squad for Euro 2024 for sentimental reasons and revealed the Rangers midfielder is ready to play for his country.

Jack has not started a game for the Ibrox club since a Scottish Cup game against Ayr United in February and he has not played for a full 90 minutes since a Europa League match against Slavia Prague way back in November.

However, Clarke is a huge admirer of the 18-times capped 32-year-old and he is eager to have him involved again when the national team take on their Group A rivals Germany, Switzerland and Hungary next month. 

He is optimistic the former Aberdeen player, who missed out on the Euro 2020 finals in 2021 when he picked up a calf injury which required surgery, can come through the warm-up friendlies against Gibraltar and Finland and make the final cut. 

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“Ryan is not in because he’s due a chance,” he said. “He is in because of what he has done for me before as a player. I understand the qualities Ryan brings to the squad and to the team when I put him on the pitch.

“You have to look at them (the Scotland players who are coming back from injuries) and think, ‘Okay how do we get them in? How do we assess their fitness? How do we know their fitness?’ 

The Herald: “There are still one or two doubts, even as we go into the last 10 days before we get to the final selection of 26.  That was the reason for the slightly bigger squad. It was just to give me a little bit of time to assess one or two and hopefully come up with the right choice at the end. 

“What Ryan has to do is come into the camp and train well. Hopefully I can give him some minutes on the pitch. He has to show everyone he is fit. But I know he has been fit at his club for a couple of weeks now. They have chosen not to play him, that is their choice. But Ryan is fit and raring to go.”

Clarke has lost his two first choice right wing backs – Aaron Hickey of Brentford and Nathan Patterson of Everton – to injury and he admitted that Jack could potentially slot in at right back in Germany if required.

The Ibrox player, who was on the bench in the cinch Premiership match against Hearts at Tynecastle last Saturday, started out playing in the specialist position at his home town club Aberdeen before moving into central midfield.

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“There is cover in the squad,” he said. “I have tried to cover all positions, all possibilities. There is still a bit tumbling around in my mind that I need to see over the next 10 days, half a dozen training sessions and two friendlies. Then I can firm up what I do when I go to Germany.

“There are things you can think about. James Forrest has obviously played there before, but not very often. Ryan Jack is another one who has been mentioned. He can play on the right hand side of the pitch no problem, but more as a right-back than a right-wing back.

“The idea when you pick a squad and to pick a squad of 26 is to give yourself as many options to cover as many bases as you can, and that is what I have tried to do.”