ALEX McLEISH has called in Celtic defender Jack Hendry to replace Aberdeen’s Mikey Devlin who has pulled out of the Scotland squad for the crucial UEFA Nations League ties against Albania and Israel.
The Dons star was poised to earn his first cap alongside Pittodrie team-mate Scott McKenna in the Loro Borici Stadium in Shkoder on Saturday night.
However, Devlin sustained an injury in his side’s 1-0 win over Hibs a week ago and has been forced onto the sidelines.
Young Hoops centre-half Hendry and SV Hamburg’s ex-Ranger David Bates will now compete to join McKenna in the middle of the rearguard.
Devlin joins Craig Gordon, Charlie Mulgrew, Kevin McDonald, Stephen O’Donnell and Ryan Jack as call-offs from McLeish’s injury-stricken squad.
The Scots were already without forwards Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths while Robert Snograss, of West Ham, and Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie asked to be overlooked as they concentrate on club matters.
McLeish said: “We have the nucleus here and that’s important.
“We are going to concentrate on the guys who are in the squad and pay them our upmost respect. I really trust them.
“We know what’s at stake. We have two really big games ahead of us and I know that we can do it if we played to our best.”
Scotland wrap up the group with a game at Hampden on Tuesday against Israel, who claimed a 2-1 victory last month.
Goalkeepers: Scott Bain (Celtic), Jamie MacDonald (Kilmarnock), Allan McGregor (Rangers);
Defenders: Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Kieran Tierney and Jack Hendry (both Celtic), David Bates (SV Hamburg);
Midfielders: James Forrest, Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor (all Celtic), Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United);
Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday), Oliver McBurnie (Swansea City), Matt Phillips (West Brom) and Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City).