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Mind How You Go
Published : 04 Feb 2013 17:27:23
Managers get nervous when their players head off on international duty
Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons and James Forrest will be linking up with the rest of Gordon Strachan's squad ahead of the game against Estonia on Wednesday. Celtic manager Neil Lennon hopes that his players will be utilised sensibly by the new Scotland manager. Commons, Forrest and Mulgrew were on the scoresheet when Celtic ran out winners over Raith to earn an away Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against St Mirren in March. Lennon is looking ahead to his side's Champions League last-16 game with Juventus on February 16, and has been in touch with the new Scotland manager to offer his views. He said: "I have spoken to Gordon about the Scottish players and he understands my situation. I have every trust in Gordon to deal with that properly. I haven't asked him not to play them. James could do with some game-time, Kris might need a wee run-out while Scott and Charlie have played all season. I'll leave that up to Gordon. I'm not going to pick his team for him. But of all the weeks to have international games... I don't know who decides or puts these dates in place. We have got the biggest game in four or five years at the club coming - and we have players all over the world. It's a concern. We've got at least seven or eight players away." Commons is looking forward to meeting Strachan for the first time. He said: "It's a good opportunity to meet up with the guys and from my point of view it's a chance to meet Gordon. I've never met him before and I'm looking forward to coming face to face with him. Whether or not I get game time - I don't know." Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster missed out on the win over Raithdue to a neck injury but Lennon will play him against Inverness next week with the Juve game in mind. However, there are still doubts hanging over Georgios Samaras (hamstring) and Emilio Izaguirre (knee). Lennon was pleased to see winger Forrest return for the first time since recovering from a hamstring problem which had kept him out since Boxing Day. The Celtic manager said: "James got a few minutes and we hope he will get some game-time with Scotland this week. We hope he will play at Inverness next week and we can get him ready for Juventus - which we have tried to do with the whole squad. Fraser should be okay for next weekend. The plan is to get him a game before Juventus. He's itching to play and could have gone away with England, but we felt it would be better to get a good week of work before the Champions League. He was just a little bit short going into the Raith game but he should be okay for next week. We will give Izaguirre and Samaras every chance. We will be aggressive with the rehab but we won't take gambles. Emilio is just ahead of Georgios at the minute."