KEVIN Gallacher has endorsed Steve Clarke’s decision to hand former England Under-20 player Che Adams a Scotland call-up and predicted the Tartan Army will embrace the Southampton striker - if he scores goals in the Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign.

The former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United forward, who was on target six times during the national team’s successful bid to reach France ‘98, admitted he was stunned when Adams was named in the squad for the Group F matches against Austria, Israel and the Faroe Islands.

The 24-year-old, who has netted seven goals in the Premier League in the 2020/21 campaign, has been preferred to Leigh Griffiths, Oliver Burke and Lawrence Shankland, who all helped their country reach the Euro 2020 finals.

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Some fans and pundits have suggested the Leicester-born marksman, who turned down the chance to play for both the under-21 side four years ago and the senior team two years ago, of pledging his allegiance to this country now so he could be involved in that tournament this summer.

However, Gallacher feels Clarke is correct to pick the best players available to him and thinks Adams, who qualifies to play for this country through an Edinburgh-born grandparent, can justify his selection in the forthcoming fixtures.

“I was quite surprised when I heard Steve had picked Che I must admit because I knew he had played for England at under-20 level,” he said. “He was taking time out back then to wait and see which country he could play for – Antigua and Barbuda, England or Scotland. It is very interesting.

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“But as I always say, we need as many good Scotsmen as we can get. If he is playing well and he is eligible then Che if one of those guys. He is doing alright in a top league. Hopefully he can snap Steve’s hand off and take the opportunity.

“If players haven’t been performing the manager needs to have the cahones to leave them out and pick somebody else who is and who you think would suit our system. He has to pick the best players who will suit our system. He has obviously looked at Che and thought: ‘He’s strong, he’s fast and he’s got an eye for goal’.”

Gallacher, who won 53 caps between 1988 and 2001, is confident that Adams, who could make his Scotland debut against Austria at Hampden tomorrow evening, will give his all for Scotland despite not being born and brought up here.

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“I played with Don Hutchison, Matt Elliott and Neil Sullivan,” he said. “They were definitely committed, no doubt about it. They wanted to win as much as we did. I wouldn’t say they ever came away with the national team and thought: ‘What am I doing here?’

“They were there on merit. They were playing well with their club sides in one of the biggest leagues in the world. We tried to integrate them in with us through their family ancestry. We always said: ‘If you can’t sing Flower of Scotland just mime it’. It keeps the people watching on the television happy.

“It is all about the grass at the end of the day. People will always question what country you are from. Steve has to go with the best players available to him, with the guys who are in form. For me, that is the way it should be.”

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Gallacher feels the emergence of Adams as a contender for a Euro 2020 place could help the likes of Burke, Griffiths and Shankland to rediscover their goalscoring form in the remaining weeks of the season.

“It could light a fire under a few players,” he said. “You have got to be on song. You have to make sure you perform at the right times. The national team is always watching you play. There are always eyes on you. Scotland isn’t a big nation, we don’t have an abundance of talent and we are always looking for people to make it stronger.”