Tommy Conway stakes Scotland claim as Bristol City teammate is rewarded for his patience

Tommy Conway pressed for late inclusion in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for Euro 2024 as he scored for the Under-21s in Turkey, while Bristol City teammate Ross McCrorie made his senior debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Gibraltar.

Clarke is considering adding another striker to his group before Friday’s final squad announcement having lost QPR forward Lyndon Dykes to an ankle injury in training, which has left him with Lawrence Shankland and Che Adams as his only central forwards.

Speaking on Sunday, Clarke said he was giving himself “two or three days” to make a final decision and Conway did his level best to try and sway that process as he leapt to connect with Lewis Fiorini’s deep cross in the 17th minute, heading in at the far post in the U21s 2-1 defeat to Turkey.

The fact that it was a header was of some significance given one of Dykes’ main strengths is his aerial ability and while Conway won’t necessarily be able to match the 28-year-old in that department, he at least showed he has it in his locker.

When asked after Scotland’s win over Gibraltar if he was considering Conway, Clarke said: “I’ll have a chat with my coaching staff and we’ll take it from there. Tommy’s done great and is certainly one that is at the front of my mind.”

McCrorie, meanwhile, earned his first cap in Portugal as goals from Ryan Christie and Adams secured victory for the Scots over the European minnows.

The 26-year-old has represented his country at every level from U15 onwards but has had to wait for his opportunity, not helped by the devastating injury he experienced at the start of the 2023/24 season as he contracted an infection in his pelvis which kept him out of action for five months.

Having worked his way back into Clarke’s thoughts with 22 appearances over the second half of the season for City, McCrorie appears to be in a two-way battle with Celtic’s Anthony Ralston to earn the starting spot at right-back due to injuries to regular starters Nathan Patterson and Aaron Hickey.

McCrorie played the full 90 minutes and the Herald scored him 7/10, with Ewan Paton writing: “Looked assured and composed throughout, albeit, the level of opposition needs to be considered. Made several galloping runs forward on the overlap. Positives to build upon.”

Martyn Simpson, of the Edinburgh Evening News in scoring McCrorie a 6/10, added: "Gave a good enough account of himself on his international debut, bombed up and down the right side and had some decent deliveries into the box in the first half."

Clarke has to trim his 27-man squad to 26 by Friday, with one final friendly against Finland to come before they begin their Euro 2024 campaign against hosts Germany in Munich on June 14.

“Very proud moment for me and my family,” McCrorie told Premier Sports. “I’ve had to be patient but I’m really, really happy tonight and the result to top it off was great.

“I’ve been in the squad a few times, I know all the boys - I played against them, I played with them - I’m pretty experienced, I’ve had a lot of caps in the youth team, but all the boys have been top since I came in.

“The gaffer spoke to me before and just said, ‘go and play your normal game, go and do what you’ve been doing down in Bristol’, so that’s what I did. But the result was the main thing, it’s given us confidence to go into the next game with Finland and get ourselves going for the Euros.”

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