Injured Celtic skipper Callum McGregor named in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

The Scots return to international duty with a double-header against Israel and Faroe Islands next month

Steve Clarke has included side-lined Celtic captain Callum McGregor in his latest Scotland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Israel and Faroe Islands.

The midfielder, who signed a five-year contract extension last week, has missed the Hoops last four games due to a hamstring problem and is doubtful to play in their Europa League clash with Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday night.

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However, Clarke has taken the gamble on naming McGregor in his 24-man squad for their double-header next month.

After narrow 1-0 victories over Moldova and Austria during the previous international break, the Scots will return to qualification duty in high spirits, knowing maximum points from their next three fixtures would guarantee at least a play-off for next year’s finals in Qatar.

There is no place in the squad for fellow injured Celtic duo James Forrest and Greg Taylor, while Aberdeen defender Declan Gallagher drops out, but Manchester United star Scott McTominay returns after missing the past three games to undergo minor surgery on his groin.

Rangers goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin has earned a recall to the squad after his impressive form in recent weeks, alongside Craig Gordon and Liam Kelly.

Despite a lack of game-time, Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser and Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who hasn’t played a competitive game since the European Championships this summer, are both included.

Clarke will also bring in former Hearts and current Aston Villa coach Austin McPhee to his new-look backroom team after he missed his first Scotland gathering following a Covid-19 scare last month.

Scotland welcome familiar foes Israel to Hampden Park on October 9, in an astonishing SEVENTH meeting between the nations in the past four years before facing a trip to the Faroes four days later.