It’s often said that the Scottish national team fares best when there are a significant number of Scots plying their trade away from the pitches of the domestic game. There’s some merit to that suggestion, too – the last time the saltire flew at a World Cup, the side featured several players from the English Premier League and, in John Collins and Scott Booth, a couple who were featuring for Monaco in France and at Utrecht in Holland.
Steve Clarke’s present-day squad, meanwhile, includes players from the top end of the Premier League, and again a couple who have flown further afield. Not as far as Jason Cummings, whose move to Central Coast Mariners has inspired a few bettors to enter the bet365 promo code in Australia. But, as we’ll see below, even some players yet to be capped by the national side are making a mark in leagues where they come up against some of Europe’s finest on a regular basis.
Aaron Hickey (Bologna)
In times gone past, being a left-back at a top-league European side would have been enough to make Hickey indispensable in the national squad. He can legitimately feel put out, then, that he’s come through in an era where Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson are regulars in Arsenal and Liverpool’s first teams and the Scotland side. Yet Hickey hasn’t let it affect his game, and the former Celtic youth prospect has looked every bit as comfortable in the Bologna first team as he did in his single, stellar, full season at Hearts. Rumours have linked Hickey with a move back to the UK at either Arsenal or Brentford, but he could choose to remain in Serie A.
Jack Hendry (Club Brugge)
Hendry has had an eventful career for someone who’s still only 27. Often referred to as a “Scottish John Stones”, the skilful centre-back has shone for Dundee and KV Oostende either side of an ill-fated stint at Celtic. Most recently he’s been playing in Belgium for Club Brugge, where he seemed to have talked himself out of contention by criticising coach Alfred Schreuder over a lack of game time. However, his winning goal against Antwerp clinched the league title for Brugge and his career seems to be on the up again. Increasingly dependable for the national team, Hendry is well set for more success in the future.
Liam Henderson (Empoli)
As well as Celtic have fared this season under Ange Postecoglou, one can only wonder at the side they might have if they just kept hold of their younger players. Henderson – like every current player named in this article so far – was on the Hoops’ books for a while, notching up 29 senior appearances. After loan moves to Rosenborg and Hibs, he moved permanently to Bari in 2018. When they went bust, he moved to Hellas Verona and helped them win promotion to Serie A and became the first Scottish player to play in that division since Graeme Souness. He’s now in his second spell with Empoli after a sojourn to Lecce and must be a candidate for future Scotland squads given his fine form in Italy.
The above are names that have found themselves regular first-team action at sides on the continent, but aren’t the only Scottish players making their way out there. At Bayern Munich, former Celtic and Rangers youth prospect Liam Morrison, just 19, is fitting in well with the second team and his prospects for the future are considered positive, along with ex-Bhoys youth winger Barry Hepburn.
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