Smith: No Celtic row
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Walter Smith did not envisage three Celtic players pulling out of the Scotland squad.
Walter Smith did not envisage three Celtic players withdrawing from the Scotland squad, but feels the situation is a one-off.
Bhoys boss Gordon Strachan has pulled Shaun Maloney, Stephen McManus and David Marshall out of Scotland's squad for the Kirin Cup.
Strachan wants the trio at his disposal for the SPL champions' high-profile testimonial games for Alan Shearer and Roy Keane.
Scotland coach Smith has moved to downplay suggestions of a row between the national team and Celtic, and has called up Iain Turner and David McNamee as replacements.
Smith admits he did not expect the troika to miss the end-of-season games against Bulgaria and Japan, although he believes the situation of withdrawing from Scotland fixtures has improved markedly.
"Celtic have withdrawn their three players from the trip," said Smith. "That aside, we have only got one call-off and that is Kenny Miller, with Lee Miller coming in for him.
"People have talked about it being club versus country, but it's not. I would like to say that since I've come in we were running at an average of between eight and 10 call-offs for every game.
"Recently, we've been down to just one or two, so it's not a matter of clubs versus country because we've had terrific co-operation from clubs and players.
"This to me is a one-off situation, although not one I envisaged.
"It's just a matter that Celtic feel they need to put up a good performance in the testimonials, which are two high-profile games.
"We just have to accept that and get on with things."