IT'S been an incredible few years for the Scotland men's team, making the grand return to international tournaments at Euro 2020 and coming closer than ever to world cup qualification.

But I have to worry that these good times are about to end.

Scotland’s biggest talent pool lies in their fullbacks, with skipper Andrew Robertson, ever-reliable Kieran Tierney and young stars Nathan Patterson and Aaron Hickey in the current squad.

On the fringes are Celtic’s Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston who have been impressive for the Hoops in recent years, while making a few national team appearances themselves.

While Ralston isn’t a nailed-on starter for Celtic, he’s an amazing squad player. Greg Taylor, meanwhile, has won 10 national team caps for a reason.

Finally, there's Motherwell right-back Steven O’Donnell, who was recently dropped from the squad due to spotty performances. He was Scotland’s worst performer at the Euros, running around like a headless chicken at times.

Unfortunately, his ineptitude seems to have wormed its way into Steve Clarke’s first-choice fullbacks.

Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson, while recently performing well in big performances against Manchester United and Everton, has been a victim in a faltering Liverpool side this season. Even though his side and the player seemed to be turning their season around, a Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid and a shock 1-0 defeat away at Bournemouth said otherwise.

Robbo has looked lethargic and error-prone this season, he’s like a ghost in the shell of his former self. The only upside is he has managed to register nine assists so far.

Robertson has been the global standard for fullbacks for years now and led Scotland to our first major tournament in more than two decades, but this season he looks like he should have stayed at Hull.

The story for Kieran Tierney is very different. Long seen as the heir to Robbo, he has had a stellar career with both Celtic and Arsenal so far, winning multiple honours.

But this season at Arsenal, Mikel Arteta seems to have given up on the marauding fullback, preferring Oleksandr Zinchenko over him. As a result, Tierney has become a bench warmer for the Gunners, playing around a fifth of available league minutes. When he has played this season, he hasn’t looked like himself in the slightest.

Zinchenko is exciting, Tierney is not. Zinchenko gets assists, Tierney does not. Zinchenko has developed a winning mentality during his time with Man City, Tierney… well, you get the picture.

He needs a move away from The Gunners for the sake of his career.

Future stars Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson have both joined mid-table Premier League clubs and have had their fair share of injuries.

In less than 18 months on Merseyside, Paterson has missed 25 games through injury for Everton, and during his first six months, manager Frank Lampard seemed to forget he existed.

While he has risen from the grave and Lampard put him in this season, he is still fighting for his place at right-back with 34-year-old Seamus Coleman, while also finding himself in a relegation battle.

Its not where you want your starting right back to be.

Aaron Hickey spent two months on the side-lines for Brentford after his summer transfer from Bologna with an ankle injury. Since coming back, there have finally been some bright spots.

He is in potentially the best position of the four, as Brentford as a squad are having a fairy-tale season, finding themselves fighting for an unprecedented Europa League place with Hickey holding his place in the side.

He isn't quite at the hights he hit in Italy yet, but he is playing much better than Steve Clarke’s other options. He is perhaps the glimmer of hope we need for another Euro campaign.

In Clarke’s 3-5-2 formation, Robertson and Patterson tend to start in the wing back positions, with Tierney sat on the left of the back three making underlapping runs and switching frequently with Robertson. Hickey is capable of filling in for any of them off the bench.

But with all these players faltering at club level, could Clarke’s system be threatened?

Clarke uses his fullbacks as one of his main creative threats, while also expecting them to be solid at the back. With the current form of his usual picks, there is doubt over whether that system will work.

Luckily, club form and international form don’t always corelate.

A prime example is the national team’s current hero John McGinn, who while inconsistent for Aston Villa, metamorphoses into a hero in the dark blue of Scotland.

However, that’s just one player, what about all the players in one position?

It is much more likely that the squad will be affected with both flanks faltering.

The mistakes these players are making right now will creep into their international performances, and the lack of playing time for Tierney and Patterson will show in their fitness.

Lack of play time leads to lack of sharpness, and therefore more mistakes. Their position in defence means these mistakes could be fatal.

The old saying goes, attack wins games, defence wins titles, and half the defence are playing poorly. It’s not looking good.

The next international break sees Scotland play Cyprus and Spain in the Euro qualifiers.

With the form and play time of our fullbacks all over the place, don’t be surprised to see disappointing results.