Smith backs Levein recalls
Walter Smith says Craig Levein allowing Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor to return for Scotland is a wise decision.
Last Updated: 07/02/10 7:34pm
Former Scotland manager Walter Smith has backed Craig Levein's decision to recall exiled pair Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor.
Levein, who took over the reins as manager of the national team following George Burley's departure, announced he intends to resurrect the duo's international careers.
Boyd refused to play under former boss Burley, meanwhile Rangers team-mate Allan McGregor was barred from representing his country again following a late night drinking session.
The goalkeeper was also in hot water for making gestures whilst on the bench for a World Cup qualifying campaign defeat to Holland at Hampden Park. Levein has also said Barry Ferguson, also involved in the incident, could make a return.
Smith has welcomed the news as Levein learned his first job as boss will involve taking on Spain, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Liechtenstein in Group I of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
The Rangers boss said recalling the pair would provide a timely boost for the national side, given the form they are in on the domestic scene.
Smith said: "I think it's a good thing. If Craig feels he wants to get the best he possible can, then both these boys have been doing well this season. I'm pleased that he is picking them.
"Kris was playing well as he played at any time since I came back to Rangers and was coring goals. So he is one that you would want in your group.
"Scotland have a couple of good goalies, with Craig Gordon and Allan, and it's a position where they are strong."
Levein faces a tough task if he is to qualify for the European Championship in Ukraine and Poland in 2012, with reigning champions Spain to contend with.
Czech Republic also pose a tricky test, but Smith believes Levein's open-door policy can only increase Scotland's chances of qualifying.
"The country needs the national team to be doing well and we want to be optimistic about what's happening.
"I've said on many occasions that Scotland have good players and Craig is taking back people who have played there before who are not inexperienced in terms of international football and I'm sure the country will benefit from that."
The return of Boyd and McGregor comes as another player in international hiatus, Lee McCulloch, revealed he is considering coming out of retirement.
McCulloch quit the Scotland scene in 2008 during the World Cup qualifying campaign, saying he wanted to concentrate on his club career with Rangers.
The 31-year-old was rumoured to be unhappy with the management of Burley, and the turnaround comes just over a month after Levein's appointment.
McCulloch, who has 15 caps to his name, now plans to hold talks with the former Dundee manager and Smith.
He told the club's official website: "I think I need to have a word with the gaffer and Craig Levein.
"The middle of the park is the strongest part of Scotland's team so there are six or seven players that are possible younger than e that would come into the frame.
"So I don't want to say that I would come back or not. We will just have to wait and see what happens."