Not so long ago Rangers could’ve provided an entire Scotland starting XI;

McGregor, Hutton, Smith, Weir, Wilson, Thomson, Ferguson, McCulloch, Naismith, Boyd, Miller.

Ok, so there are a few dubious calls there but the majority of them are experienced players at the highest level and earned a decent number of caps.

Rangers are in a process of re-building with Pedro Caixinha openly admitting that he wants a core of Scottish players, preferably Rangers supporting. You could argue we’ve missed out on Christophe Berra, Jason Cummings, Stevie May and Callum Paterson as players that could’ve gone on to represent Scotland because they have already done so at various levels.

Rangers have been linked with several Scottish players with bids for both Jamie Walker and Kenny McLean being rejected in the summer. It would be surprising if Pedro didn’t go back in for them either in January for less money or secure them on pre-contract agreements. Both of these players have been in and around the Scotland squad and there certainly wouldn’t be any complaints if they were called up next time around.

So, these are the potential future Scotland players, what about those already in the Rangers squad? Danny Wilson, Lee Wallace, Ryan Jack, Graham Dorrans, Andy Halliday, Jason Holt and Michael O’Halloran are the senior Scottish players in the first team squad (including those out on loan). At the moment, we won’t count the boys who get regular age group call-ups as it is too soon for them to be considered.

Straight away we can remove Andy Halliday, let’s face it he is not an international player. There are too many other midfielders either playing at a higher level or playing more consistently.

Jason Holt could be added into the same category but, there have been signs lately that he is responding to Pedro’s coaching and has looked impressive when he has come on as a sub. He always has plenty of running in the tank but with better players around him, he looks more assured to the extent that he is pushing for a first-team place now. Scotland were sorely missing a level of busy-ness and energy that Holt brings to a team but he’ll need to start a lot more games to be considered.

Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack are probably playing in the area where competition is fiercest. Gordon Strachan has his favourites, as does every manager, every fan out with Rangers would be up in arms if Dorrans or Jack had started the last two internationals but how many of them would have Barry Bannan over Jack or Dorrans? If Dorrans was still playing at Norwich City and was called up nobody would bat an eyelid, he’s been in a lot of squads without adding to his 12 caps. He’s got four goals from a deep central midfield position and a couple of assists despite (according to some) not playing very well, if this is him struggling I for one can’t wait for him to get going!

Dorrans has spoken to Strachan before signing for Rangers about his position with Scotland. Strachan has agreed not to call up Dorrans if he isn’t going to play but he does remain in contact with him. At first, this seems a bit big time but when you find out that Dorrans lost a son who was stillborn whilst on Scotland duty you can understand why. His daughter was also seriously ill with meningitis when she was still a toddler so again you can understand his reluctance to leave his family behind if he isn’t going to be playing. However, I come back to my point of, if Dorrans was still at West Brom or Norwich would anyone have a problem with Dorrans starting ahead of Bannan, James Morrison or James McArthur?

We all know what Jack brings to a team, he’s a ball winner, an excellent reader of the game, he wins the ball then moves it forwards quickly. Someone who is especially useful when you aren’t going to have a lot of the ball. Sound familiar? With Scott Brown injured Scotland were relying solely on Darren Fletcher to perform this role. He played well in both games but there was nobody else in the squad capable of that job, he is also in the twilight of his career and can’t be considered a long-term option should Brown decide to retire (again). Jack has shown he can raise his game and cope with the pressure of playing for Rangers, why not Scotland? A midfield three of Jack, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor has plenty of energy, creativity and they all have the majority of their careers ahead of them.

The one position Scotland have depth is left back with Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney currently occupying the squad places. Tierney has been deployed at right back which would suggest Robertson is Strachan’s first choice. It will be interesting once Paterson is fully fit again, especially as Strachan has moaned about our shortage of physical players. Paterson is tall, athletic and powerful and is a natural right back offering just as much going forwards as Tierney and Robertson on the left-hand side.

Strangely enough due to injuries when Lee Wallace played against England at Wembley he was one of the better performers at both ends of the park. He also has a quality that Robertson and Tierney don’t have – height. Robertson is arguably one of the best crossers of the ball in European football, why not play him further forward with Wallace behind him. Scotland wouldn’t lose one of its best attacking threats and would add height to the defence at the same time. Wallace overlapping Robertson would also give Robertson the extra time to get crosses into the box. If Robertson can’t get forward that threat is missing. Wallace offers a solution to two problems.

Danny Wilson, at 18 it looked like he was going to be a future Scotland captain and should’ve been on 50 caps by now especially in the position that Scotland are weakest. Wilson made his Scotland debut in 2010 when he was 18. Grant Hanley made his debut the year after and now has 27 caps, Wilson has just 5.

At 25, Wilson has plenty time on his side but he really should be established by now, Fabio Cardoso has looked a bit shaky recently and maybe it is time for Wilson to get a run in the team alongside Bruno Alves. Charlie Mulgrew and Christophe Berra are the current centre-halves but again how much longer can they keep going for? If Wilson is playing regularly are the current Scotland centre-halves really that much better than him? Hanley gets picked when he isn’t even playing for his club side, he definitely isn’t that good!

The final player we’ll look at is Michael O’Halloran. His competition is Ikechi Anya, Robert Snodgrass, Matt Phillips and James Forrest. Anya is small and fast, with almost no end product – a typical full back playing on the wing. Forrest is incapable of reproducing his Celtic form for Scotland despite having 20 caps (with zero goals despite numerous good chances). Snodgrass for a long time was the country’s talisman but his role is that of an impact player now with his powers and pace on the wane. Philips can be a powerful runner but can also be clumsy and ineffective.

O’Halloran is 5 ft. 11 inches tall, he is rapid, has an eye for goal and he can beat a man with ease. Pace is key at international level and O’Halloran has it in abundance. If Strachan is looking for taller and more athletic players without losing quality how can you argue that Anya or Forrest are better options than O’Halloran? If he continues his early season form he has to be considered for international selection just as he will be reconsidered for selection at Rangers.

Ten years ago Rangers could’ve had a full team of Scotland players now we are reduced to hoping a few ex-players make the squad. Time will tell if the current (or next manager) feels that a change of tact is required to get Scotland back onto the big stage.