Football: Scotland lose six players for Croatia trip

03 June 2013 04:17

Six players have pulled out of the Scotland squad for Friday's 2014 World Cup qualifying match in Croatia, team officials announced on Monday.

Full-backs Lee Wallace and Danny Fox, centre-back Gary Caldwell, Celtic pair Scott Brown and James Forrest, and midfielder Liam Bridcutt are the players to have withdrawn due to either injury or fitness concerns.

As a result, Motherwell full-back Steven Hammell and Aston Villa central midfielder Barry Bannan have been drafted into the squad by manager Gordon Strachan.

Scotland are seeking their first victory in UEFA qualifying Group A, but can no longer qualify for next year's tournament in Brazil.

In the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Scotland are regarded as heavy underdogs, with Croatia striker Ivica Olic quoted as saying the Group A leaders are looking to "win by two or three goals".

But West Bromwich Albion midfielder James Morrison has called on his Scotland team-mates to use the jibes as motivation to pull off a shock victory in Zagreb.

Asked if the criticism would fire up Strachan's side, Morrison said: "Most definitely. We will put it to the back of our minds at this stage but once the game comes on Friday, we will try to use that to motivate ourselves.

"It is not nice but we are concentrating on our training week.

"We are doing double sessions and working really hard.

"There are a lot of new players trying to get used to each other and so we are just going to concentrate on our game and let them deal with themselves."

Revised Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool/ENG), David Marshall (Cardiff City/WAL), Allan McGregor (Besiktas/TUR)

Defenders: Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion/ENG), Steven Hammell (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Alan Hutton (Real Mallorca/ESP), Russell Martin (Norwich City/ENG), Andy Webster (Hearts), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City/ENG)

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa/ENG), Chris Burke (Birmingham City/ENG), Craig Conway (Cardiff City/WAL), Ryan Jack (Aberdeen), Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United), James McArthur (Wigan Athletic/ENG), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Steven Naismith (Everton/ENG), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City/ENG)

Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic/ENG), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Tony Watt (Celtic)

Source: AFP