Scotland boss Steve Clarke hopeful Celtic skipper Callum McGregor will get game time ahead of crucial Israel showdown

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Scots face Israel and Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying next month

Steve Clarke remains optimistic about Celtic captain Callum McGregor’s chances of being fully fit ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers next month.

The Scots face Israel in front of a sell-out crowd at Hampden Park on October 9 before flying out to the to play the Faroe Islands four days later.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Clarke named his 24-man squad for the double-header on Tuesday afternoon, which included several players that are currently nursing knocks or lacking sufficient game-time.

However, the national team head coach is hopeful the likes of injured Hoops midfielder McGregor and Stuart Armstrong, who has not featured for Southampton this season due to a calf problem, will get some vital minutes on the pitch before international camp.

He said: “When you name a squad there is still 11 days before a match day so there’s plenty of time, a couple of games.

Callum is in that situation, Stuart Armstrong is in a similar situation but I am hoping that they will both get some minutes over the next couple of games and be fit and available to join the squad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The medical staff have been in contact touch, we know where the players are at and as always we will treat them as well as we can.

“It’s good to get as many of your better players in the squad as possible. Scott (McTominay) is certainly one of those so it’s good to have him back.”

Six points from the next two games will ensure Scotland remain on track to claim a World Cup qualifying play-off spot and Clarke insists they will approach both games as though they were cup finals.

He added: “It has the same significance as the game against Moldova, the game against Austria in the last camp. The next two games are big in the context of trying to finish second in the group.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Israel will be a tight game, we’ve played them quite a lot recently and know them well.

“It’s great to see tickets have sold out for the game. It will be my first experience as head coach to see a full house at Hampden so I’m looking forward to that.

“I think the fact now that we’re now able to sell out a game tells you the Scottish public are certainly engaging with this team, this squad of players.

“I said last time I love my players. I love what they do for the country, how they approach games, so the fact that we’ve got a full house for the Israel game shows the players are doing something right.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“When you get to qualification for a World Cup finals, you want to do as well as you can, so you have to pick up points in every single game.

“There’s no other way to look at it. When you’re playing for your country or managing, every game should be treated like a cup final.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.