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Published : 05 Sep 2011 17:19:57Rss feed
Can Craig Levein rebuild a deflated squad to keep the slim hopes of a play off place alive Craig Levein has his work cut out for him ahead of tomorrow's EURO2012 game against Lithuania. Not only has he to lift the squad (and the fans!) for the game but he also has to re-build it after the game against ther Czech Republic ended the chances of playing his preferred option. Levein has lost Scott Brown and Kenny Miller for Tuesday night after they picked up their second booking of the Group I campaign on Saturday. We already posted that Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam and Craig Mackail-Smith, the natural replacement for Miller, were out through injury. Adam has failed to shake off the hip complaint which saw him leave the field with ten minutes to go on Saturday's while Mackail-Smith returned to Brighton after picking up a back strain. That leaves the inexperienced David Goodwillie and Steven Naismith, who played in midfield at the weekend, as the only two realistic choices for Levein to play in the expected lone striker's role. Naismith has been nursing an injury himself, taking painkillers to overcome a hip problem, but he is not about to ease off in Scotland's qualification bid despite the late blow of the Czech game. Scotland now need the Czechs to drop points against Lithuania and Spain and hope that they can win their remaining games including the away game against Spain on 8 October. Naismith knows they have to beat Lithuania tomorrow night to keep their slim hopes alive after Michal Kadlec's controversial last-minute penalty kept the Czechs five points ahead in second place. The Rangers player said: "We can't just give up now. We've still got a chance of going through, albeit we need to wait on other results. We will still fight and all the boys will go out on Tuesday night and hopefully put in another good performance and get a win and try and put as much pressure on as we can."Alan Hutton's fitness is in the process of being assessed after he played his first competitive game of the season against the Czechs, but Phil Bardsley is expected to overcome a calf problem. Levein, who has not called anyone else up, does have two defenders coming back, with Steven Whittaker free of suspension and Grant Hanley recovered from a bout of tonsillitis.
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