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CLARKE ADMITS TIERNEY FRUSTRATION

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KIERAN TIERNEY will again be missing when Scotland takes on Cyprus and Kazakhstan in the Euro 2020 qualifiers this month.

The former Celtic left-back, who cost Arsenal a record-breaking £25million in the summer, was absent from Steve Clarke’s international squad following a request from the London outfit to leave him out.

Tierney has started the Gunners’ last two Premier League games after recovering from a long-term hip injury.

However, Clarke has revealed why the 22-year-old defender had been prevented from returning for his country.

The Scotland boss, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “Kieran’s got an ongoing issue that Arsenal are keen to address in the next international break and Arsenal asked us not to select him.

“It’s a little bit frustrating. It’s obviously frustrating for Kieran, as well, but we have good cover in that position.”

Hearts veteran Steven Naismith has been recalled by Clarke, despite a lack of game time with the Tynecastle outfit. He was a second-half substitute in the Edinburgh side’s 3-0 Betfred League Cup exit against Rangers on Sunday.

Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna – as Scotzine forecast yesterday – and Ibrox midfielder Ryan Jack also return after missing last month’s fixtures against Russia and San Marino through injury.

Centre-backs Charlie Mulgrew and Stuart Findlay drop out with hamstring injuries while Robert Snodgrass announced his international retirement last month.

Sporting Kansas City attacker Johnny Russell, whose domestic season is finished, also drops out.

Clarke explained: “He hasn’t done any training. He picked up a little injury at the end of the season and he hasn’t been working. So, he’s not available for selection.”

Scotland can no longer qualify for next year’s championships through Group I, but will have the opportunity to reach the tournament via the play-offs in the spring thanks to their Nations League success.

THE SQUAD

Goalkeepers: David Marshall, Craig Macgillivray, Jon McLaughlin,

Defenders: Liam Cooper, Michael Devlin, Declan Gallagher, Scott McKenna, Stephen O’Donnell, Liam Palmer, Andy Robertson, Greg Taylor

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie, John Fleck, Ryan Jack, John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Kenny McLean, Scott McTominay

Forwards: Oliver Burke, James Forrest, Ryan Fraser, Oli McBurnie, Steven Naismith, Lawrence Shankland

 

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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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