Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Smith backs Scots recall for Rangers duo

Walter Smith has welcomed the news that Rangers duo Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor are set to resurrect their Scotland careers.

And he believes the national team will receive a major boost from adding two players who have been on top form this season to their ranks.

Scotland boss Craig Levein confirmed yesterday that he intends to name both striker Boyd and goalkeeper McGregor in his first squad for next month's friendly against Czech Republic.

Boyd previously refused to be considered for selection while George Burley was at the helm, while McGregor was frozen out as a result of his role in the infamous “boozegate” affair, along with Barry Ferguson.

“I think it's a good thing,” said Smith. “If Craig feels he wants to get the best he possibly can, then both these boys have been doing well this season. I'm pleased that he is picking them.

“Kris was playing as well as he has played at any time since I came back to Rangers and was scoring goals. So he is one that you would want in your group.

“Allan McGregor has been terrific for us over the season so it's good that he's getting picked too.

“Scotland have a couple of good goalies, with Craig Gordon and Allan, and it's a position where they are strong.”

Former Scotland boss Smith — who echoed Levein's desire to see the Scots paired with England in the draw for the European Championships in 2012 — believes Levein was wise to open the door to players who have previously represented the national team.

He said: “The country needs the national team to be doing well and we want to be optimistic about what's happening.

“I've said on many occasions that Scotland have good players and Craig is taking back people who have played there before who are not inexperienced in terms of international football and I'm sure the country will benefit from that.”

Boyd will be in the squad for Rangers' Active Nation Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren today after making a quick recovery from hernia surgery last month.

Smith admits his return has come at the right time for the holders but will err on the side of caution in terms of the striker's involvement over the next week or so, with games against Motherwell and Hibernian also looming.

“I've put him in the squad because he has shown no ill effects from training this week,” said the Rangers boss. “Looking at the week ahead, we also have two SPL games coming up, so we will have to work out what's best for him.”

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre