Scotland boss Gordon Strachan eager to rest Celtic and Aberdeen players

Gordon Strachan says resting Celtic and Aberdeen players from his current international is best for Scottish football

Gordon Strachan says he has rested Celtic and Aberdeen players from his current international squad as he strives to achieve "the best for Scottish football".

Charlie Mulgrew is the only Celtic player included in the Scotland squad for friendlies against Italy on May 29 and France on June 4, with Craig Gordon, Scott Brown and Kieran Tierney dropping out along with Leigh Griffiths, who scored his 40th goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat to St Johnstone on Wednesday.

There are call-ups for Rangers pair Lee Wallace and Barrie McKay, along with Hearts full-back Callum Paterson, while Hibernian midfielder John McGinn keeps his place, but Aberdeen's Kenny McLean also drops out.

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan is keen to rest Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Leigh Griffiths
Image: Scotland boss Gordon Strachan is keen to rest Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Leigh Griffiths

However, Strachan said he was working for the benefit of Scottish football by resting Celtic and Aberdeen players ahead of their respective European qualifying campaigns.

He said: "The reason the Celtic and Aberdeen players are not there - I'm the Scotland manager. My job is to get the best for Scottish football.

Scott Brown won his 50th cap for Scotland on Tuesday
Image: Scott Brown is injured and will not feature in Scotland's upcoming friendlies

"So I'm picking a squad that's without Celtic and Aberdeen players. I'm trying to give them as much rest as I can so they can be ready for their European ties.

"It might be a bit of a gamble, I could have done with some of them."

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Aberdeen's Kenny McLean has also dropped out of Gordon Strachan's Scotland squad
Image: Aberdeen's Kenny McLean has also dropped out of Gordon Strachan's Scotland squad

On Mulgrew, Strachan added: "He will maybe not be a Celtic player when we play the second game. His contract is up. So that's the reason Charlie is there. But Charlie has had a stop-start season and I don't think he needs as much of a rest."

Strachan was full of praise for McKay and Wallace, adding he is keen to experiment with their Rangers partnership on the left hand side at international level.

Gordon Strachan, Scotland manager, Czech Rep 0-1 Scotland 'Referee!!'
Image: Gordon Strachan is keen to give Celtic and Aberdeen players a rest before their respective European campaigns

"They've had a terrific season," Strachan said. "Lee we know all about but I just felt there were quite a few Rangers players who can feel good about themselves this year, but as a partnership they work brilliantly together. It's as good a partnership as I've seen for a long time.

"Both appreciate each other's contribution and they both know what they're good at, and they both help each other all through the games. So I think it's worth the two of them coming together."

15/11/13 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY.SCOTLAND v USA.HAMPDEN - GLASGOW.Lee Wallace in action for Scotland
Image: Lee Wallace has won eight caps for Scotland

Like Aberdeen, Hearts begin their Europa League campaign on June 30 but Strachan was happy to make an exception for full-back Paterson who has been called up to the senior squad in the past but is yet to win a senior cap.

"I spoke to [Hearts boss] Robbie Neilson and said: 'This is what I'm doing with Celtic and Aberdeen, do you want to be included in that. I would have had Callum Paterson in the last squad but he was injured, how do you feel about him?'

Callum Paterson has also won a call-up to the Scotland squad
Image: Callum Paterson has also won a call-up to the Scotland squad

"He went: 'No, have him in the squad because it will benefit us'.

"He has also had a six-week break as well with his injury, so that's the reason Callum is in there. He is a goal threat, he can get forward and cross, he has a good physique about him, and he will get better and better because he is still a young fella."

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