Goalie Craig Gordon recalled by Scotland for Germany game
Celtic stopper Craig Gordon could play his first game for Scotland in almost four years, as national boss Gordon Strachan has recalled the keeper following his career-threatening injuries.
Gordon, 31, made his comeback with the Bhoys after Fraser Forster was sold to Southampton, and his outstanding display against Maribor in the Champions League play-off first leg has persuaded Strachan to bring him back into the international fold.
Scotland, who are 13/8 to make it out of Group D, begin their Euro 2016 qualification campaign on September 7th with the daunting task of facing reigning world champions Germany away at Broussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.
Strachan has also included two uncapped players on his 26-man roster; Gordon’s Celtic teammate Callum McGregor, after the midfielder started the season by scoring four times in all competitions for the Glasgow giants, and Wolves anchorman Kevin McDonald.
Competing with Gordon for the goalie’s jersey are squad regulars David Marshall (Cardiff City) and Allan McGregor (Hull City). This means Burnley and former Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks is dropped.
Defensive options for Scotland are largely settled, with only Norwich City’s Russell Martin recalled after missing the end of season friendly against Nigeria in May. He joins Carrow Road clubmate Steven Whittaker, Tigers left back Andrew Robertson and versatile Celtic player Charlie Mulgrew in the rearguard.
Also in Strachan’s squad are redeemed Aston Villa right back Alan Hutton, respective Blackburn Rovers and Brighton and Hove Albion skippers Grant Hanley and Gordon Greer, Craig Forsyth (Derby County) and Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town). Stoke City summer signing Phil Bardsley misses out, alongside Wigan Athletic captain Gary Caldwell.
In midfield, Scotland skipper Scott Brown joins Celtic colleague James Forrest and Hull’s Robert Snodgrass on the treatment table. Darren Fletcher returns, however, alongside Wigan’s James McArthur, and Shaun Maloney is retained. There are places for West Bromwich Albion pair Graham Dorrans and James Morrison, along with box-to-box Derby player Craig Bryson.
Out of favour Watford utility man Ikechi Anya is included, despite seeing no action this term, and Crystal Palace’s Barry Bannan and Nottingham Forest winger Chris Burke complete the midfield and wide options. McDonald and McGregor could easily be involved in the Scotland engine room.
Key Blackburn trio Tom Cariney, Craig Conway and Jordan Rhodes, who made and scored goals in a 3-2 win over Championship promotion rivals Bournemouth at the weekend, have not received calls, however. Hull forward George Boyd drops out, alongside Fulham flop Ross McCormack and Leigh Griffiths.
Steven Fletcher returns in attack, though, joining Everton’s Steven Naismith and Derby frontman Chris Martin. Strachan had reportedly considered calling Scott Arfield up off the back of his impressive Premier League performances for Burnley, but the former Huddersfield Town midfielder misses out.
Germany are hot odds-on 1/9 favourites to top Euro 2016 qualifying Group D, but Joachim Low will have to make changes to his World Cup winning squad. Record scorer Miroslav Klose, versatile skipper Philipp Lahm and giant Arsenal centre back Per Mertsacker all announced their international retirement following their success in Brazil.