Could Scotland's failure hand Celtic's Anthony Ralston perfect opportunity to earn international break?

Anthony Ralston of Celtic vies with Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League Group B match Between Celtic and Paris Saint-Germain at Celtic Park on September 12, 2017...

Anthony Ralston has impressed for Celtic this season, so perhaps a Scotland call-up should not be too far away for the youngster.

Head coach Gordon Strachan (top) comforts Leigh Griffiths of Scotland after the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Slovenia and Scotland at stadium Stozice on October 08, 2017 in...

While Scotland was coming to terms with the agonising prospect of watching another major tournament take place without their involvement, there is perhaps one player from the country who could be able to look at Gordon Strachan's men's inability to qualify as an opportunity.

The Scots missed out on a play-off spot, meaning that it will be nearly a year before their next batch of competitive fixtures, rather than the month it threatened to be when second place in their World Cup qualifying group was within their grasp.

Head coach Gordon Strachan (C) of Scotland looks dejected after the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Slovenia and Scotland at stadium Stozice on October 08, 2017 in Ljubljana,...

Had Strachan's men booked a play-off spot and then managed to book a place in Russia, the manager would have been forgiven for putting a squad together for the tournament itself consisting of players who he had relied upon during the qualifying campaign. 

But now, Strachan - if he stays on as manager - has an opportunity to use plenty of friendlies to grow the pool of players who have been exposed to international football going into the next qualifying campaign.

One player who perhaps should receive a call-up before Euro 2020 qualifying begins therefore, is Celtic's Anthony Ralston.

Anthony Ralston of Celtic vies with Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League Group B match Between Celtic and Paris Saint-Germain at Celtic Park on September 12, 2017...

Though the Hoops ace has only made a handful of appearances for Brendan Rodgers' side, he has already come up against some of the world's best and looked very impressive on a number of occasions.

Ralston appears to be a future Scotland defender and he plays in a right-back position that was taken up by a left-sided defender for much of the campaign in his Celtic teammate, Kieran Tierney.

Tierney has often looked good in the role, but having a natural right-sided player in that position may prove beneficial, even if he is just used as Tierney's understudy. 

Throwing the 18-year-old into the mix now will give him the chance to learn the ropes of international football before he is in contention to feature in the competitive games, and that will surely benefit Scotland as it should enable him to find the qualifiers less daunting than they may have been had he still been awaiting his senior debut by the time they came around.

Ralston may make mistakes during the coming months, but if he is able to make those during the games that have no repercussions, then the Celtic man will be able to help the side give themselves a better chance of avoiding another heartbreaking end to qualifying in future.  

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