Scotland’s 5 best options at right-back

Main photo credit: Franziska

By Calum Woodger

When Alan Hutton went charging down the right for Scotland in their 6-1 win over Gibraltar in March 2015 you just had a feeling something would go wrong.

Then with all the grace of a new-born giraffe sprinting across the savanna Scotland’s stalwart full-back ended up landing face first in the Hampden turf.

In one of his last appearances in a dark blue shirt Hutton managed to encapsulate his latter years as the national side’s first-choice (only) right-back.

Stuttering, staggering and rarely getting anywhere fast Hutton retired from international football in 2016 as part of Scotland’s 50 club, by some minor miracle.

In the midst of a new campaign Scotland have not had their problems to seek in finding someone to fill the Aston Villa man’s boots.

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Who will replace Alan Hutton as Scotland’s long-term right back?

Injuries and a seeming lack of options at full back have left Strachan stumped, but not Home Before The Postcards.

Disclaimer: this list will not feature Steven Whittaker or Phil Bardsley.


Callum Paterson: The obvious choice. Paterson had been Scotland’s first-choice right back in World Cup qualifying until suffering a knee injury playing for Hearts at Kilmarnock in December. The 22-year-old is one of the country’s brightest prospects and also carries a goal threat from defence. Much like Hutton, who suffered a serious injury early in his career, you only hope he comes back and thrives for club and country.

Kieran Tierney: Celtic’s treble-winning teen sensation is naturally more comfortable powering up and down the left flank, but proved adept on the other side of defence in a vital group win over Slovenia. On just his third cap the 19-year-old showed maturity and quality which belied his tender years. Tierney is a tenacious talent with fabulous technical ability, well worth shoehorning in at right-back in the meantime.


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Flexible: Tierney wore the number two against Slovenia back in March


Ikechi Anya: When the Castlemilk-born British-Nigerian-Romanian winger burst onto the scene in 2013 he was very briefly the poster boy for Strachan’s English Championship raid. And rightly so, Anya flourished as part of a three-pronged attack behind a lone striker, even scoring against world champions Germany in Dortmund. Since then, Anya’s attacking threat has been nullified, but with his blistering pace was seen as ideal cover at full-back. Still better going forward, Anya was part of the defence that conceded three goals in 78 minutes against England last November. He is likely to start there again for the Auld Enemy clash at Hampden on June 10.

Liam Palmer: The Sheffield Wednesday man is somewhat of a wildcard pick in this list, having featured 19 times in the league for The Owls’ Championship promotion push last season. Palmer has a decent pedigree. With caps at under-19 and under-21 level, the Worksop-born 25-year-old qualifies for the national side through his grandmother. Strong, athletic and defensively sound he would provide a natural option at right-back.


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Uncapped: Palmer (left) challenges Scotland and Derby County winger Johnny Russell


Graeme Shinnie: Much has been made of the Aberdeen captain’s omission from the squad. The cries for Shinnie to be included should be heard even louder as Scotland desperately need someone capable of filling in at the back in Paterson’s absence. Having shown versatility in the past for both Inverness and Aberdeen, the 25-year-old is in the form of his life. If he plays with as much commitment as he does at club level he would soon make the right full-back slot his own.

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