Levein backs Naismith recovery
Craig Levein has indicated that Steven Naismith will be straight back into the Scotland squad after his injury lay-off.
Last Updated: 01/11/11 2:46pm
Craig Levein has indicated that Steven Naismith will be straight back into the Scotland squad once he recovers from a long injury lay-off.
The Rangers striker is to miss the rest of the season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament during Saturday's win over Aberdeen.
Naismith endured a similar length of time on the sidelines in 2008, shortly after making his Scotland debut.
The 25-year-old has won 15 caps for his country and scored in their 1-0 win over Lithuania in the European Championship qualifiers in September.
But Levein, who has named Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes in his squad to face Cyprus in a friendly, had sympathy for Naismith.
He said: "Having had to stop playing myself with a similar injury, I know just how frustrating it is and how soul destroying it can be to suffer from this particular injury. I had four or five of the same kind of thing.
"The good thing is the attitude of Steven will be what enables him to get back, not just playing well, but to that gradual curve of improvement he was on already when he came back from a similar injury previously. His progress has been quite phenomenal.
"Knowing the type of boy he is and his attitude; I spoke with him the other day and he said all the right things that will help him to recover, I'm certain he will be back probably for pre-season training and he will very quickly get back on that curve of improvement.
"As soon as Steven Naismith is available and fit, he will be back in the squad."