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BAIN SET FOR ANOTHER STEP UP

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SCOTT BAIN looks likely to make his Scotland international debut in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Kazakhstan a week on Thursday.

And the Celtic keeper, 27, could also face San Marino three days later as his career continues to soar after taking over from Craig Gordon as the Hoops No.1 at the tun of the year.

Bain will get his opportunity after Scots boss Alex McLeish admitted he tried to change Rangers shotstopper Allan McGregor’s mind about retiring from the international scene.

The 37-year-old announced his decision on the eve of today’s squad announcement and Big Eck, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “It is obviously a blow for us. Allan has been in great form this season for club and country.

“I kind of knew this day would come. I have kept in touch with Allan for a year now, since he came back into the fold.

“I knew in Hull he had some ailments and some problems. I always wondered when the day would come that we might lose him. It was amicable.

“He knows his body now. He obviously wants to play as much club football as he can and try and keep himself right for that, but he is suffering in certain parts of his body at this stage of his life.”

END GAME…Allan McGregor has quit the Scotland team.

Asked if there was an attempt to change McGregor’s mind, McLeish answered: “Of course, there was, aye. We said we would try and manage it. Could he play one game? Can we do something to help? We wanted to help him.

“I gave him a couple of days to think about it and he has come back with the same answer, so sadly we lose him.”

With Craig Gordon carrying an injury, Bain will be joined in the battle for the gloves by Jordan Archer, of Millwall, and Sunderland’s John McLaughlin.

McLeish said: “It is an opportunity for one of the goalkeepers to go and excel and show they can become an international goalkeeper on a regular basis, the way McGregor has done and the way Craig Gordon has done in the past.”

McLeish revealed Cardiff City’s Callum Peterson and Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser will play no part in that match as Scotland have an agreement with those two Premier League clubs that their players will not be risked on an artificial surface.

He added: “Two players won’t play – Callum Paterson and Ryan Fraser. This is part of an ongoing agreement between club and country and they are not going to play on the Astroturf.

“They will not travel to Kazakhstan. They will meet up with us in San Marino.”

Hibs striker Marc McNulty, who is on loan from Reading, has earned his first Scotland call-up after five goals and two assists for in six appearances for the Easter Road outfit.

He joins Oli McBurnie, Oliver Burke and Johnny Russell as the forward options amid the absence of the likes of Leigh Griffiths, Steven Fletcher and Steven Naismith.

FULL SQUAD: 

GOALKEEPERS:  Jordan Archer, Scott Bain, Jon McLaughlin

DEFENDERS:  David Bates, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O’Donnell, Liam Palmer, Andy Robertson, John Souttar, Kieran Tierney

MIDFIELDERS:  Stuart Armstrong, Barry Bannan, John Fleck, John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Kenny McLean, Scott McTominay, Callum Patterson, Graeme Shinnie, Oliver Burke, James Forrest, Ryan Fraser, Lewis Morgan

STRIKERS:  Marc McNulty, Oli McBurnie, Johnny Russell

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About Author

Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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