Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

McManus confident Scotland can cover for injured Ferguson

Stephen McManus, Scotland's stand-in captain, is optimistic they can cope without their regular captain Barry Ferguson as he feels midfield is his country's strongest position.

McManus will lead out the hosts in tonight's friendly against Northern Ireland as Ferguson recovers from ankle surgery. The Rangers midfielder is likely to miss the first three of his country's World Cup qualifiers, against Macedonia and Iceland next month, and Norway in October.



"He's an important player for us, he has proved that over the years," the defender said. "But, like the manager [George Burley] says, we have got very good players to come in. If there is one position in the squad that you can afford to lose somebody, it would be in the midfield. Scott Brown is there as well."



Injury has also deprived McManus of regular defensive partner Gary Caldwell but the Celtic centre-back believes replacement David Weir's experience will help the World Cup preparations. Weir was drafted in by Burley for the first time after Caldwell pulled out of with a thigh injury.



"It's great you can call on someone like Davie Weir," McManus said. "He has bags of experience and it's always a pleasure to play beside him. It's important we get a good win and it's also important we get a good performance going into the two big games.



"It all kicks off in a couple of weeks' time in Macedonia, so we will be looking for a good performance."

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