Ally McCoist is unequivocal in his belief that Nathan Patterson should be in the Scotland squad for the European Championship this summer.
The 19-year-old Rangers right-back has impressed since emerging as understudy to James Tavernier and has performed well in the recent games that the skipper has missed through injury.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has stuck by right-backs Stephen O’Donnell of Motherwell and Liam Palmer of Sheffield Wednesday and said recently of Patterson: “We must give him time to settle in and see how his career goes. But he’s a big player for the future, that’s for sure.”
However, former Scotland and Rangers striker and Ibrox manager McCoist, speaking at Hampden Park to promote coverage of the Rangers versus Celtic Scottish Cup tie exclusively live on Premier Sports this weekend, believes the time is right for a Patterson call-up.
He said: “I would, yes, I certainly would.
“Scotland have done fantastic (sic) and it is brilliant for us that we are back at a major tournament for the first time since 1998.
“But why not, if he is good enough? And Patterson certainly looks good enough.
“We have been boosted by Che Adams coming in, which gives us something different and Lyndon Dykes has done well.
“But I just think in certain areas we have to pick our best players, it is as simple as that and at this moment in time Patterson looks as though he could be part of the squad.
“He is still very young and has a long way to go and but I certainly wouldn’t have any problems throwing him into that squad.
“If Patterson continues to play and shows the form he has for Rangers I think he would get in, yes.
“But it is great that we are even having this discussion. Steve will sit down with big decisions to make.”
The prospect of playing every week at Ibrox is subject to doubt considering captain Tavernier is one of the best players at the club and has recently signed a new deal which commits him to the club until 2024.
However, McCoist backed Gers boss Steven Gerrard to handle the situation.
He said: “If you look at Phil Foden down at Manchester City, everyone was complaining last year that he wasn’t getting enough games.
“Pep Guardiola took his time with him and then all of a sudden away he goes and he has been phenomenal.
“He has been managed and coached perfectly and I think Patterson will be the same.
“He will get more game time. Whether he plays every week when Tavernier is fit, I wouldn’t have thought so – but I don’t think for a minute Steven won’t manage him very carefully and manage him well.”
Ahead of the Old Firm cup clash newly-crowned champions Rangers are 20 points clear of Celtic at the top of the Premiership and unbeaten in the league with a 100 per cent domestic record at Ibrox this season.
Asked about Celtic’s interim boss John Kennedy’s claim that “on our day we are still the best team in the country,” based on the previous two Glasgow derbies this season which ended in a narrow Rangers win and a draw, McCoist said: “I get what he is saying, I totally understand and I am not going to criticise John for saying it.
“I take his point. I thought Celtic played well at Ibrox, the game at Celtic Park, I thought a draw was a fair result.
“But the way Rangers have won the league you would have to say Rangers are the best team in the country.
“Forget about level of performance in the Old Firm game, it is just about the result.
“If you can win the game and throw in a good performance you are ecstatic.”