Scotland manager Steve Clarke has blasted the unfair FIFA rules that have copped Rangers defender Nathan Patterson a one-match World Cup qualifying ban as the Ibrox prodigy was replaced in the squad by Celtic’s Anthony Ralston.

Patterson picked up his second booking of the campaign on Friday night, ruling him out of the clash with Denmark at Hampden on Monday night and Clarke thinks the uneven number of games across the qualifying groups makes the two-bookings rule inherently unfair on some teams.

scotland rangers nathan patterson
Patterson celebrates scoring his first goal for Scotland (Photo by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“It’s classed by FIFA as part of the UEFA qualifying,” Clarke said.

“Is it fair? Probably the most unfair part of it.

“We play 10 group games and other teams play eight over the course of qualifying and the yellow cards still count the same.

“I am not sure how that’s seen as fair. We can accumulate cards over 10 games and they can accumulate them over eight games.

“But we are not the only country in this situation, almost every country has numerous yellow cards hanging over the group. How we deal with it, is how you would deal with it any normal situation.

“It’s too many players to say, ‘you can all get booked and miss a game’ and there’s too many players for me to leave out.

“So looking at it just now after a long night travelling back and not much sleep, it’s a case of we need something from the Denmark game to secure the seeding.

“Getting the seeding is important in the first place. Then you have to trust you don’t get an over-officious referee who wants to book everybody for every silly little indiscretion.

“So common sense from the players who play and the officials officiating the game and we should be fine. The lads have picked up one yellow card over the course of a nine-game campaign and hopefully, they can manage to go through another game without picking up anything else.

“Then you go to the play-offs and you could pick up five or six bookings in the first one and they could all miss the final, which is extra unfair.”

Patterson’s suspension meant only Motherwell’s Stephen O’Donnell was available who could fill in for the Rangers defender, leading to a late call-up for Celtic defender Anthony Ralston.

The Parkhead defender is likely to be Patterson’s understudy for years to come at international level so it should be a good opportunity for him to be part of the national set-up while Patterson is sidelined.

The Rangers star’s absence will be a big blow after he played a massive role in Friday’s win over Moldova in Chisinau, scoring the opening goal to ease Scotland’s nerves.

In other news, Glenn Middleton scored the winner in the Scotland under-21 match against Kazakhstan.

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