Belfast Telegraph

Gordon Strachan admits he's taking gamble with Scotland squad omissions

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan admits he is taking a gamble by omitting his Celtic and Aberdeen contingent from his squad to face Italy and France.

But Strachan is convinced it is more important in the long run to have Scottish players competing at the top level in European club football.

Celtic quartet Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths have been dropped for the post-season friendlies along with Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean. Hearts rejected the chance to allow Callum Paterson to miss the trip, though.

Both Hearts and Aberdeen start their Europa League campaign on June 30 with Celtic kicking off their Champions League qualifying quest less than two weeks later.

Strachan’s 27-man squad will be cut because of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, but the former Celtic boss felt he had to take a long-term view.

Strachan said: “The reason the Celtic and Aberdeen players are not there — I’m the Scotland manager. My job is to get the best for Scottish football.

“So I’m picking a squad that’s without Celtic and Aberdeen players. I’m trying to give them as much rest as I can so they can be ready for their European ties.

“It might be a bit of a gamble, I could have done with some of them.”

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