CELTIC may have just finished a season trophyless for the first time in 11 years, but John Kennedy, the interim manager who took charge of his final game at Easter Road yesterday, is adamant there should be a strong contingent of Parkhead players with Scotland at the Euro 2020 finals this summer all the same.

In fact, Kennedy, the former centre half who was capped once himself in his own playing days, is hopeful that national manager Steve Clarke names no fewer than six of them in his 26 man squad on Wednesday.

Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor, who have been regular starters for their country in the past couple of seasons and started in the play-off final win over Serbia last year, are guaranteed to be in.

The National:

The duo will be hoping and expecting to be in the starting line-up for the opening Group D game against the Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14.

However, James Forrest, Leigh Griffiths, Greg Taylor and David Turnbull face anxious waits for a variety of different reasons.

Forrest spent five months out due to an ankle injury this season and only returned to action in March. Griffiths has had limited game time of late and has only scored two goals this year. Taylor is behind Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney in the pecking order. Turnbull has no previous international experience.

Kennedy, though, feels that every one of them has much to offer Scotland in what will be their first appearance at a major tournament since France ’98.

The National:

“I don’t know what Steve is thinking,” he said. “But in term of us, we know where the players are at. We just want as many of our guys as possible to get in there because it will be a great experience for them.

“It is good for both the players and the club that they are part of that. Again, we will just need to be patient on that. But all the players are in contention. Steve will be the man to make that tough decision.

“Scotland have done well, but James is somebody you look to if you want to change a game or be very attacking-minded. He is an example of somebody that can give you that creativity.

“James is somebody I would imagine would be in Steve’s thoughts, if not selected. But that will be Steve’s call again. James has been a big player for us. Hopefully Steve sees that the same way.

“Dave Turnbull who has played all of the games and become a really important player for us. I see that Kenny McLean got injured, so there could be an opening there.”

The National:

Kennedy added: “Ryan has come in for a bit of criticism, but working with him on a daily basis and seeing the quality of him I know he is a top lad and a top player. I think given what he has done for Scotland he will be one of the first picks in the squad.

“The Serbia game was a realisation all the worked he has put in over the years has taken him to the biggest stage in football. So I am absolutely delighted for him. He always comes in with a smile on his face and works as hard as he possibly can.

“He has been a great player for us and hopefully he can carry that into the Euros in the summer and do the job for the country as well.”

The National:

Most members of the Tartan Army would give Griffiths, whose two goals in the Russia 2018 qualifier against England at Hampden back in 2017 made him a national hero, the nod despite his underwhelming showings in recent weeks.

Kennedy certainly think there is an argument for including the mercurial centre forward alongside Che Adams, Lyndon Dykes, Ryan Fraser and possibly Kevin Nisbet.

“In the past you have seen that in certain games he has scored some big goals,” he said. “Again, it is one where Steve has options there. He will have to look at what the balance is. Leigh has certainly not had as much game time as he would have liked, but that is part of competition within a squad at a club like this.

“But he is still a huge threat. He is a goalscorer, he has proven that over the years. Especially when you can dominate games. When you get him in and around the box and give him a good supply he is a deadly finisher.

“He is probably different from the other strikers in the squad, from what Steve has. He will probably be looking at the balance of that and what the right fit is going into this competition.”

The National:

Former Kilmarnock left back Taylor, who has won four Scotland caps in the past, is unlikely to start against the Czechs, England or Croatia due to the presence of Liverpool defender Robertson and Arsenal icon Tierney. But Kennedy feels he would be an invaluable squad member.

“Personally I would (select him),” he said. “Steve in the main plays with a back five. Kieran Tierney tends to be his left centre back and then obviously Andy Robertson is wing back. So you have two top players in front of you.

“But the make-up of your squad is not just about your starters, it is about the balance and the personnel and Greg is a great type. Even the times he has found himself out if the team here, he is the first guy out on the training pitch. He works as hard as he possibly can and he is a great personality to have around the dressing room.

“Steve knows him very well from his time at Kilmarnock and on the international scene so he knows Greg as much as I do and again he is a good option to have because he never lets you down. He does the best job he possibly can and you go with that as well.”

The National: