It was cold, it was wet and it was pretty miserable. So for Sheffield Wednesday’s Scotland contingent, in taking on and drawing 1-1 with Canada last night, was it worth it?
Barry Bannan came on at half time. Jordan Rhodes, on his return to the squad after 18 months out of the picture got about half an hour and Steven Fletcher didn’t play at all.
On the one hand, it can be seen as a positive that none of the players had too much game time between them as the last thing Wednesday need is more injuries, especially to key players.
However, certainly in the case of Rhodes, what could turn out to be a token gesture in bringing him into this squad and giving him half an hour is not really much good to Carlos Carvalhal.
The Owls are in a pivotal point in their season and the two week break offered an extra opportunity to get right the things that hadn’t quite been going for them.
Bannan has been at the club for a while now so his absence from training won’t quite be so keenly felt. However, Rhodes is still finding his feet at Wednesday and the team are yet to consistently find a way to get the best out of the striker.
Training in a Scotland camp that can’t exactly be bursting with confidence and getting a run out for 30 minutes, it could be argued, is a waste of time. Time that could have been better spent at Middlewood.
It wasn’t an easy stage of the game for Rhodes to come on. Canada would have been delighted with a draw beforehand and had defended reasonably well up to that point anyway. So when he and Leigh Griffiths arrived, they would have known they were going to have to work hard to get anything out of the visitors’ backline.
There was one moment, with a few minutes remaining when he turned in the box and got a shot away, but it was blocked and Griffiths was denied with the follow up. Then in injury time in front of goal, he couldn’t quite wrap his foot around a Griffiths cross.
That was his big chance.
Further back, Bannan did what Bannan does when he came on at the break, but at times he seemed to do it a bit better than when in a shirt a lighter shade of blue. Perhaps he had relished being away from the pressure of a play-off challenge, or maybe it was the level of the opposition and the fact that this was a friendly.
However, there was a drive about him, a bit more like last season at Wednesday. On a number of occasions he picked up the ball in his own half and ran at Canada - who to be fair to them were not as bad as being billed in the lead up to this match. He looked to make something happen, either with a strong run or an intuitive pass.
The midfielder also put himself into goalscoring positions on the edge of the box. One of them forced a good save from Shrewsbury Town stopper Jayson Leutwiler who came on at half time, too. The others were a little more typical of Bannan. Over the bar.
Of course the real game for Scotland arrives on Sunday when they play Slovenia in a crucial World Cup qualifier at Hampden.
Bannan will probably play some part, Fletcher could well do too. The likelihood of Rhodes getting another cap would appear remote at this stage.