Skip to main content

Bologna’s Aaron Hickey earns Scotland selection

Rangers v Heart of Midlothian – Betfred Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Bologna full-back Aaron Hickey has been named in the Scotland squad for this month’s friendly double header.

The Serie A regular has turned down several call-ups to the under-21s, including a recent invite to be selected for upcoming European qualifiers. His previous international experience is limited to three caps with the under-17 team in early 2019.

The former Hearts player joins fellow left-backs Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Greg Taylor in the squad for games against Poland and either Wales or Austria.

Hickey is naturally right-footed and could be an option for the right wing-back slot despite regularly playing on the left for Bologna and Hearts beforehand.

See more

But the other options at right wing-back, Motherwell’s Stephen O’Donnell and recent Everton signing Nathan Patterson, both retain their places despite struggling for regular game-time.

Clarke said on a Scottish Football Association video: “It’s a chance for me to have a look at Aaron and compare Aaron with the left-backs or left wing-backs we have already got in the squad, who are pretty decent themselves.”

There is no place for Ryan Fraser, who pulled out of the squad for the final World Cup qualifying group matches in November only to be pictured training with newly-appointed Newcastle boss Eddie Howe two days later.

David Marshall

David Marshall has been playing for QPR (John Walton/PA)

David Marshall has won a recall with Motherwell’s Liam Kelly preferred to St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark and John McLaughlin of Rangers as back-up to first choice Craig Gordon.

“Obviously David lost his place in the Derby team, probably due to financial circumstances as much as anything,” Clarke said.

“He managed to get a move in the January window. He has been playing at QPR, reasonably regular. It’s nice to have David back involved. I always like to have at least two senior goalkeepers, so with Craig and David, I’ve got that.

“Younger goalkeepers is a different kettle of fish. I have been rotating Liam and Zander and I’ve gone for Liam this time. So we are strong in that department.”

Ryan Jack

Ryan Jack has impressed for Rangers in Europe (Bernd Thissen via DPA)

Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack is recalled after returning to fitness in recent months following a long-term calf problem.

Clarke said: “Ryan Jack coming back is a big boost for us. Ryan was an integral part of the qualification for the Euros. Unfortunately he picked up a really serious injury that took a long time to recover from.

“But his recent performances for Rangers merit his place in the squad and it will be great to see him again.”

Hickey is the only new face in the squad while the likes of John Souttar, Liam Cooper, David Turnbull and Kevin Nisbet miss out through injury.

Steve Clarke

Clarke has gone with a tried and tested formula (Jane Barlow/PA)

“We are getting good experience,” said Clarke, whose team have won their last six matches. “I think maybe when there’s a couple of friendlies, the general public want you to make five, six, seven changes and get a lot of people in.

“My thinking on this camp was to work on one or two things, to get together after four months – it’s a long time we haven’t been together.

“It’s important to get the bulk of the squad together, work on what we are good at, and try and prepare as best we can for the June games.”

Scotland host Poland next Thursday in a friendly arranged in the wake of both countries seeing their World Cup play-off games postponed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Clarke’s side then travel to face the losers of the play-off semi-final in their qualifying path.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1