Belfast Telegraph

Alex McLeish: I've picked Scotland squad with future in mind

By Gavin McCafferty

Alex McLeish insists no favours were handed out when he named an inexperienced Scotland squad for the trip to face Peru and Mexico in late May/early June.

The Scotland manager has picked seven uncapped players - including Hibernian left-back Lewis Stevenson, new Celtic winger Lewis Morgan, Hearts defender John Souttar and Aberdeen midfielder Graeme Shinnie - and only four players who are into double figures of caps.

Celtic players Craig Gordon, Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Leigh Griffiths and Kieran Tierney are left out, although Stuart Armstrong and Jack Hendry are included along with Ryan Christie, whose loan spell at Aberdeen has ended.

McLeish held talks with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers over his plans for a trip organised by axed chief executive Stewart Regan before the manager was appointed. But decisions on who to rest were taken after detailed statistical analysis by the SFA's performance staff.

"We took every individual on their own merits," McLeish said. "It wasn't a case of doing anybody any favours, it was more about what we felt about the future as well. I have seen in the past young players suffer burnout later on in their careers.

"I had a chat with Brendan because obviously there's a lot of Celtic players in the squad, and one or two of them will definitely be in better condition for the Euro qualifiers. We have just used a bit of common sense."

Belfast Telegraph

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