Friday, March 25, 2011

Scotland v Brazil: Craig Mackail-Smith

"Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith has become a surprise addition to Craig Levein's Scotland squad for Sunday's friendly against Brazil." (BBC)

Who?

Something of a regular on the BBC's late night Football League Show this season, that's who.

With 22 goals in 35 league games, he's often to be seen popping up between Manish and his mad autocue stare and Lizzy perched awkwardly on her desk.

But "surprise addition" would seem to sum it up.

Born in Watford, he qualifies through a Scottish grandmother. Agree, disagree. But those are the rules.

And Craig Levein, who'd be absolutely brilliant on daytime TV wallpaper Heir Hunters, vowed to use those rules to Scotland's advantage.

But is Craig Mackail-Smith the standard of player that we hoped his rooting around in ancestral records would uncover?

Too early to say. Like any Scotland player he deserves a chance.

My reservations are that, at the age of 27, he's only once strayed as high as The Championship.

His two best seasons, including this one, have come in the third tier of English football. His overall record, encompassing Conference to Championship, works out about a goal every two and a half games. Solid. But not against top quality opposition.

Good goalscorers will score goals no matter who the opposition is. Isn't that what they say?

We'll need to see. So far I'm underwhelmed. But the guy's in a Scotland squad to play Brazil so let's not knock him.

It actually seems unlikely that he'll figure much on Sunday. I'd guess Levein's using his striker shortage as an excuse to take a look at another option.

There will be extenuating circumstances if he doesn't feature.

Mackail-Smith is set to play for Peterborough against Bristol tonight before joining up with Scotland.

This really could be the stuff that dreams are made of.

From the Memorial Stadium to Brazil at the Emirates in a little under 48 hours.

It would be quite a story.