5 Scotland-based players good enough to play in the Premier League

Kilmarnock v Celtic
Celtic winning their 1st of 6 league titles

The Scottish league, quite unfairly, most of the time, attracts a lot of criticism, especially from neighbours England. Certainly, the quality of football is reduced up North, it's still physically-dominated, but Scottish football history in rich: think of Celtic's famous Lisbon Lions team who became the first British club to win the European Cup in 1967

Think also of Rangers' hardened team that won 9 league titles in a row during the 1990's, and came within 1 point of reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 1993. World-class players like Henrik Larsson and Brian Laudrup have graced the pitches of Scotland.

Today, the top division which is the Scottish Premiership boasts the best average attendances expressed as a percentage of a country's population in the whole of Europe, a remarkable and commendable feat.

There is the talent to be found within the teams, as was the case when Southampton plundered Celtic in successive seasons for Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster, and Virgil van Dijk (who has since notoriously become the world's most expensive defender ever).

This slideshow, then, lists 5 current players in the Scottish Premiership who are definitely capable of making the step up to the Premier League. It's heavily dominated by Celtic, naturally, given their lofty position in Scotland, but other teams have capable players as well:


#5 Kieran Tierney (Celtic)

RSC Anderlecht v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League
Tierney is a fan favourite for his love of the club and combative displays

The most obvious inclusion, Tierney has been earning rave reviews for his performances at left-back for a few seasons now. Still only 20, he's racked up an incredible 116 total appearances for the club already.

He's the prototypical modern full-back: extremely strong in the tackle, never wavering from a defensive battle, but a terror in attack, always supporting his forward teammates.

There are many, even outside Celtic, who believe the youngster to be one of the best left-backs in European football right now and it's not a silly notion. Tierney has performed well in the Champions League, showing that Scotland isn't just his level; indeed, he even made it into the UEFA team of the group stage, alongside such greats as Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Manchester United has been mentioned as an interested party in the player for a while now, which makes sense, given their troubles in the position with Luke Shaw.

The Englishman sadly makes for an unfortunate comparison with Tierney: both similar ages, both British, yet Shaw has declined massively under Jose Mourinho's tutelage, while Tierney goes from strength to strength under his manager Brendan Rodgers. It would be a sad end to his career at the club if he was replaced by the Scotsman.

Interestingly, Tierney is a massive Celtic supporter, and his connection with the club and his fellow fans are emotional and strong, so tempting him away from Glasgow may not be as easy as it would with another player. Celtic's in his blood, and if ever a player was to ignore the riches of England and stay at a lower level, it may just be Tierney.

#4 Alfredo Morelos (New Rangers)

Rangers v Aberdeen - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Morelos is a natural goal scorer who operates in the penalty box

A supreme goal scorer, Morelos only arrived in Glasgow in the summer but talk has already started about his departure. There were fanciful rumours of big-money moves to China but a more obvious destination would be England, next season.

The Colombian moved to Finland to start his journey in European football and swiftly smashed in 27 league goals in just 42 games for HJK. He now has 11 in the SPFL and these statistics sum up his style: he's not a stylish footballer, but a throwback to rugged poachers of old.

This reason will stop him from joining a truly elite Premier League club, with anyone in the top-half far out of reach for Morelos, but his instinctual finishing could prove useful for a relegation-battling side. The player himself seems hungry to continue up the ladder of football, so his club should struggle to keep hold of him passed next season.

If one was to see Morelos's face, the striker looks at least 28, but shockingly, he just turned 21 last year. His strike record, then, is excellent considering this, and a Premier League club could develop his game further if they take a chance on his services.

#3 Scott Sinclair (Celtic)

Celtic v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League
Sinclair has started to enjoy his football again at Celtic

The only player on this list with previous Premier League experience, Sinclair has been around English football; Chelsea sent him out on loan as a youngster a ridiculous 6 times. When he finally got the chance to settle at a club, Swansea, he started to show his talents.

Under his current Celtic boss Rodgers, Sinclair scored an incredible 19 goals from the left-wing to fire Swansea to the EPL for the first time in their history.

He then didn't look out of place in the top division, contributing a decent tally of 8 league goals. His all-round play impressed, though, as his directness and burning pace caught the eye of many, including Manchester City, for a reported £8 million.

This, sadly, was just the wrong move for the player and he never stood a chance making it into their cash-rich first team, ending up with 13 appearances in 3 miserable seasons.

Since venturing to Scotland, Sinclair has looked like his old self, and has an amazing 30 league goals in just 58 games. He won the Celtic supporters' player of the year and the Celtic players' player of the year for 2016/2017 and provided flair in the attack that helped the team with their famous unbeaten season.

Sinclair is still only 28 and will probably fancy another chance in the Premier League. He's certainly good enough but he needs to find the right fit for his style: during his other years in the league with Aston Villa and West Bromwich, his electric wing play didn't suit playing in struggling teams. His game, therefore, didn't have the space to thrive.

When he played for Swansea, Rodgers's team kept a lot of possession in the midfield but looked to release their wide players as much as possible, utilizing their speed and trickery, and this is what Sinclair needs. If a team can provide that, then he has all the attributes to play in the Premier League yet.

#2 John McGinn (Hibernian)

The ferocious McGinn battles for the ball against the Netherlands
The ferocious McGinn

This addition is still raw but McGinn has enough about his game to play at a higher level. In the Scottish Championship, McGinn was the undisputed best player in the league with Hibernian for 2 seasons but in their first year together in the top flight, the little midfielder hasn't looked out of place.

The biggest thing going for McGinn is that he's left-footed, a surprising rarity in the central midfield, and it means he offers teams a great balance. He has a diverse shooting range which will improve with age. McGinn now has 5 caps for the Scotland national team and should be a mainstay in their squad for many years to come.

A comparatively similar Premier League player to him would be Jack Wilshere, with added bite. McGinn has good passing like Arsenal's man, but has the aggression needed to be an excellent defensive shield when it matters.

Celtic has been talked about as a possible destination for the player, but he could be a suitable option for a mid-table Premier League outfit needing options in their midfield. What also is of great importance is McGinn has boundless confidence and cockiness, for many good footballers make it to the Premier League, but don't have this and eventually disappear without a trace.

#1 Olivier Ntcham (Celtic)

Celtic v Linfield - UEFA Champions League Qualifying Second Round: Second Leg
Ntcham in Champions League qualifying action for his club

The Frenchman did actually join Celtic from Manchester City but he never made a first-team appearance for the club, instead, spending time out on loan with Genoa in Italy. The fact that Ntcham was loaned to such a difficult league should give one an idea of his talent levels.

He made 37 league appearances in Serie A, while still very raw, but showed enough about his game for Celtic to splash £4 million to acquire his services, a sizable sum for a Scottish club.

He's since become a vital player for Rodgers, the passer and instigator beside the battling Scott Brown in the central midfield. Ntcham has also played excellently in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League and was arguably man-of-the-match in the 3-1 away win against Anderlecht in the group stages.

He just turned 22 and the overall feeling is that Ntcham is destined for a Premier League club, similar to Wanyama and van Dijk before him.

He's often compared to Yaya Toure and his game is indeed strikingly similar: Ntcham possesses incredible strength and power and is capable of completely dominating the middle of the pitch on his best day.

He has a decent 6 goals already this season and his shooting range is improving on a weekly basis. Perhaps, Pep Guardiola was hasty in letting him leave Manchester City, but based on his performances this campaign so far, it won't be long until Ntcham is showing his ability for a top-half Premier League club.

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Edited by Aakanksh Sanketh
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