Levein - Boyd can return
Craig Levein has offered Kris Boyd hope despite dropping the striker for the forthcoming Euro qualifiers.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 30/09/10 9:28pm
Scotland boss Craig Levein has offered Kris Boyd immediate hope of a recall despite dropping the striker for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers.
The Middlesbrough striker is the notable absentee from Levein's squad to face Czech Republic on 8th October and Spain four days later.
With Birmingham's James McFadden sidelined because of a knee injury, Levein has handed in-form QPR hot-shot Jamie Mackie a first Scotland call-up after the striker has impressed in netting eight times for the Championship pace-setters.
But Levein has left the door open for Boyd in future if his form picks up.
The Scotland boss told Sky Sports News: "If you look at the strikers that I've picked, I've picked players in form - that's basically it.
"I had a chat with Kris and explained that to him - he's a top bloke and a top goalscorer and I've no doubt that once he hits a bit of form then he'll be back involved in the squad."
Mackie was born in England but qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandfather, with Levein becoming aware of his availability at the start of the season.
The Scotland boss added: "He's been watched on four separate occasions and each report has been excellent.
"You know we have been looking high and low for new players to add to the existing pool that we can pick from and Jamie's grandfather was born in Kilmarnock so he fits the criteria and we're really happy to have him on board."
Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney has earned a recall after not being included in Levein's squad for the games against Lithuania and Liechtenstein earlier this month following an injury-ravaged campaign for the Old Firm club last season.
But the 27-year-old has come back into the reckoning after being in good form for the Hoops, including scoring twice.
Levein said: "Shaun's had a difficult time of it. I went to see him not long after I got the job, I think around about February time. He had a really terrible time last year with injuries and I still think he's got a bit to go to be honest with you, I do feel there's more to come from him but I'm really pleased that he's managed to get a number of games under his belt and he's a quality player."
Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon has been included in the squad after making his comeback for the club's reserves on Monday night after two months on the sidelines with a broken arm.
But Levein confirmed that Rangers keeper Allan McGregor - who has returned to the international fold since his involvement in the 'Boozegate' saga - would be continuing between the sticks against the Czechs at least.
He added: "Craig Gordon won't start the match against the Czech Republic - he's back in training, he did play a reserve match the other night and did very well and I believe that he's some way towards full fitness.
"I feel its important to get him back involved with the squad again but I've been really happy with Allan McGregor so I won't make any secret of it that Allan will be the starting goalkeeper providing everything goes well between now and the first match."
Meanwhile, Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch is in the squad but is suspended for Czech clash.
McGregor (Rangers), Gilks (Blackpool), Gordon (Sunderland); Hutton (Tottenham), Berra (Wolves), Broadfoot (Rangers), McManus (Middlesbrough), G Caldwell (Wigan), Weir (Rangers), Whittaker (Rangers); Adam (Blackpool), Brown (Celtic), Dorrans (West Brom), McCulloch (Rangers), Fletcher (Manchester United), Morrison (West Brom), Robson (Middlesbrough), McEveley (Barnsley), Maloney (Celtic); Fletcher (Wolves), Iwelumo (Burnley), Mackie (QPR), Miller (Rangers), Naismith (Rangers).