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Stevenson and Phillips withdraw from Scotland squad ahead of Mexico friendly

Manager Alex McLeish had known in advance the pair were due to exit.

Lewis Stevenson and Matt Phillips have withdrawn from the Scotland squad ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in a move anticipated by manager Alex McLeish.

Hibernian left-back Stevenson, 30, made his international debut in Tuesday night’s 2-0 friendly defeat by Peru in Lima.

West Brom striker Phillips, 27, was replaced in the second-half by Celtic new boy Lewis Morgan, who was one of seven news faces on the night.

Assistant coach James McFadden told Press Association Sport that McLeish knew in advance of the duo’s exit and had planned anyway to utilise his squad – which has now been reduced to 19 – for the post-season double-header against two sides who are preparing for the World Cup finals.

He said: “They are away and it was always going to be the intention. It is nothing to do with injuries.

“I think Matt is best man at a wedding on Saturday and he made us aware of it.

“It was never an option to pull out of the trip, he always wanted to play and I think if the manager had told him he wanted him to stay I think he would have done, he is keen to be involved.

“Lewis had a holiday booked and because of the little time he will have before he goes back, it was the same; come and play the first game and you can go and have your holiday.

“Obviously Lewis didn’t envisage being in the squad so he booked his holiday.

“I am sure again, he would have given it up to play in the second game but the advice was always that we had to freshen it up for that game anyway so it gives us the chance to look at other players.”

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