Falkirk star Craig Sibbald could choose Ireland or England after another Scotland snub

Craig Sibbald has been Falkirk's star man this season
Craig Sibbald has been Falkirk's star man this season
  • Falkirk midfielder has attracted widespread praise for his recent performances
  • Scotland under-21 manager Danny Lennon has overlooked him

Craig Sibbald could be snapped up by Ireland or England sooner rather than later after his latest shocking Scotland snub.

Danny Lennon, the under-21s interim manager, has watched Sibbald over recent months during some of the midfielder’s match-winning performances – yet still omitted him from the under-21 squad he announced this week.

Bairns boss Peter Houston expressed his shock on radio earlier this week. And although he too was surprised after watching Sibbald blossom from a promising 14-year-old into the centrepiece of the Bairns Academy, Falkirk technical director Alex Smith is philosophical and sure the international calls will come sooner rather than later – and he hopes it is for Scotland.

The Falkirk Herald revealed last summer Sibbald could be snapped up by England or the Republic Ireland - who he qualifies for through his mother’s family.

Smith told Heraldsport: “I alerted the Scottish Football Association to Jay Fulton and his eligibility for England because he was born in Bolton.

“I’m disappointed he wasn’t selected in this squad because he has been playing Premier League games for Swansea and is being noticed in England.

What Craig needs to continue doing is playing at his current level because he has been in sparkling form and deservedly getting a lot of attention

“I did the job of putting squads for a while and it is difficult and we’ve got to be philosophical about Craig. We were surprised he wasn’t there – I was half expecting it – but he is only 19 and his time will come.

“But we have to be careful that it is for Scotland because if the national team is picking players based in England, you can be sure the other coutnries will be keeping a close watch on the Scottish league.

“What Craig needs to continue doing is playing at his current level because he has been in sparkling form and has been deservedly getting a lot of attention and TV coverage.”

Smith believes the politics of selecting players first and marking them as Scotland players of the future is influencing some squad selections in order to maximise the avaliable talent pool for future years, and he hopes more Falkirk Academy graduates will be invovled.

“I was pleased to see Stephen Kingsley selected though, and there has been positive reports from Norwich over Conor McGrandles too.

“As well as being surprised about Craig Sibbald not being there I was also looking for Scott Arfield’s name – I have had excellent reports from his form at Burnley.

“So long as we keep producing these players and they continue to work hard we can stand them in good stead.

“The football experience they get at Falkirk is important. When I was compiling squads I looked for players who had played first team games. The step up from first team to international is big, but it’s a huge jump from reserves.”