As Scotland questions mount, is Conway one of the answers?

Tommy ConwayImage source, SNS
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Scotland were spurning chance after chance in the Portuguese sunshine against Gibraltar and starting to fret about the prospect of a stalemate with the 203rd best team in the world.

Meanwhile, 2,500-odd miles away at the other end of Europe, Tommy Conway was directing a fine header into the net for the country's under-21 side against Turkey.

The juxtaposition did not escape the attention of many Scotland fans.

Ryan Christie and Che Adams did finally find the net in Faro, but with Steve Clarke’s striking options dented by the loss of Lyndon Dykes to injury, he has turned to Bristol City's Conway as he prepares to name his final 26-man squad for Germany.

Clarke has never been one to divulge his thoughts too openly, but when told Conway had scored in the friendly defeat in Istanbul, his response was enlightening.

"I'll have a little think about it. I'll have a chat with my staff and take it from there," the head coach told BBC Scotland.

"Tommy's done great and he's certainly one that's at the front of my mind."

Scotland's striking situation

That chat, and thought process, led to Conway being drafted in on Tuesday after Ben Doak too lost his battle to prove his fitness.

With 12 goals this campaign, an impressive physical profile, and a good reputation from the youth teams, it is easy to see why Conway has come into view.

With Dykes hobbled by an ankle injury, the opportunity is there for someone.

After scoring 32 goals in all competitions for Hearts this season, Scottish Premiership top scorer Lawrence Shankland seems to be the people’s choice.

Clarke told Premier Sports he was hopeful the lethal striker could grab a couple in the Algarve, but Shankland was uncharacteristically quiet.

The other option is Southampton forward Adams, back in the Premier League after a successful second-tier stint. Back in the international goals now, too.

Image source, SNS

Scotland passed up countless big opportunities as they endeavoured to end a seven-game winless run and Clarke acknowledged such openings will be scarce against Germany, Switzerland and Hungary.

"What we learned is that we can create chances and we just need to find the final finish," the manager told BBC Scotland.

"We need to work on it in training and their confidence in terms of finishing.

"When it comes to Che Adams - bang, goal. That's the kind of confidence you need to show at this level."

As Scotland prepare to for a step up in both quality of opposition and size of occasion, these moments will likely prove decisive. Clarke knows it.

As does former Scotland international and Sportsound pundit Willie Miller, who believes the manager has been left with a tough decision.

"For the opening game, who does he go with?" the former Scotland defender asked.

"You're looking for Shankland to score, but Adams has done what a striker needs to do."

Questions piling up ahead of Germany

Only seven teams in the world are ranked lower than Gibraltar, making this a seemingly perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of Scotland’s most exciting forward option in the roster.

But Doak was conspicuous by his absence despite insisting at the weekend he was ready to play.

Clarke revealed the lightning-quick 18-year-old Liverpool winger had a "reaction" to two days' worth of training.

Elsewhere, Scotland's injury woes intensified as Liam Cooper trudged off in pain.

And, with the two first-choice right-backs sidelined, Ross McCrorie flattered to deceive as he looked to stake his claim for the berth against Celtic's Anthony Ralston.

The build-up to Euro 2024 was never going to be plain sailing but as that showpiece opening game in the Allianz Arena draws nearer and nearer, there are scores of questions to answer.