Levein explains McGregor absence
Scotland boss Craig Levein has revealed injury to keeper Allan McGregor cost him a place in the squad.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 22/02/10 8:17pm
New Scotland boss Craig Levein has revealed an injury to Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor cost him a place in his first squad.
It was thought the 28-year-old would return to the international set-up for the first time since a breach of discipline saw him forced into exile by former national boss George Burley.
McGregor was caught up in more controversy this week after it was revealed he sustained an eye injury during a late-night incident in Glasgow city centre, and Rangers boss Walter Smith contacted Levein to reveal the extent of his lay-off.
Levein, Burley's successor, then caused a stir when naming his squad to face Czech Republic in a friendly next week which excluded McGregor, but the former Dundee United manager explained the decision.
"I got a phonecall from Walter last night explaining what had happened and that he (McGregor) was a doubt for the Rangers game next weekend," said Levein.
"I'm looking for certainty. It doesn't look like he's going to be fit, so it's nice and simple.
"Once this game is out the way, he will be considered for the next match."
Levein was also scrutinised for naming uncapped Dundee United left-back Paul Dixon and centre-half Garry Kenneth in his squad, with suggestions the decision to include them is a biased one after managing the pair at Tannadice.
"That's not how I pick the team," Levein replied. "Garry Kenneth is in the squad because centre-back is a position where we are pretty thin on the ground.
"The left-back position, I don't mind saying, is a quandary for me, we have tried a few over the past few years. I'm looking for someone to establish themselves as a permanent left-back."
Middlesbrough defender Stephen McManus, on loan from Celtic, is another major casulty of Levein's first squad, but he believes the omission will do the 28-year-old good and has not closed the door on his return to the international scene.
"I think it will do him (McManus) some good just to concentrate on his club football for a while," Levein said.
"I have not shut the door on Stephen McManus at all, I think he will be a really important part of the squad.
"But I think he has had a little bit of a crisis in confidence with not being involved with Celtic and he's just had a move, and has to take in the new surroundings and playing with new players in a new league.
"So I thought it was an opportunity to bring Garry Kenneth in and have a look at him."