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Scotland boss Gordon Strachan hits back at criticism over squad selection

first_img1 Gordon Strachan has hit back at the critics who have questioned his Scotland selection – and suggested they try looking at the bigger picture.The Hampden boss has been panned by pundits and supporters after opting to leave out on-form Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor for this week’s crucial double-header with Lithuania and Malta.The Parkhead ace has started the season on top form and has played a starring role as the Hoops secured their Champions League return.That has left Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers to admit he does not know what else the midfielder can do to secure a national team slot.But Strachan – who even overlooked the 24-year-old again on Monday as he instead called up West Brom’s James Morrison in place of injured duo Tom Cairney and Steven Fletcher – remains defiant.And he has urged those taking issue with his decision to think about the wider considerations he has to bear in mind as he looks to plot a way back into the World Cup qualifying picture.“When people are making these decisions, has everybody seen every one of our players?,” asked the former Celtic boss when the criticism of his McGregor snub was raised at Monday’s sit down with the media.“Have they seen Barry Bannan play this year? He’s been the best player in midfield in the Championship.“Have they seen Tom Cairney play for Fulham? Have they seen Darren Fletcher playing? Have they seen this one playing, that one playing?“Do they also understand what I’m looking for over the next two games? What type of player I need over the next two games?“These are the things I have to think about.“I understand every manager wants their players to be involved because they are all proud of their players.“You can say the same about the Aberdeen players or Jordan Rhodes. There’s loads – Kevin McDonald at Fulham, Ross Wallace at Sheffield Wednesday. There’s loads and I could go on – what about Barrie McKay? I’ve seen him in the last couple of weeks and he’s done lots of nice things at Nottingham Forest. There are loads of good players out there.“I understand the managers want their players in the squad but they have to understand the type of players I need for that game.“Most managers have been very understanding, that’s for sure. [Brendan] has also said he respects my decision so I will go along with that.”Strachan admitted he has sympathy for McGregor, who finds himself lining up in the one position where the Scots are not shy on cover.He said: “We’re stronger in some positions and weaker in others, that’s for sure.“Sometimes you can be right unfortunate because you’re playing well but we happen to be strong in your position.“If you look at four or five midfield positions, we have about 15 players who could possibly be in this squad.“But I’ve got to look at these two games coming up and decide what I need from the four or five players in the team.”Cairney and Fletcher have both been stood down from duty after discussions with the national team boss over persistent niggles.And Strachan also confirmed Darren Fletcher’s arrival to the squad’s Renfrewshire hotel base has been delayed after he jarred a knee during Stoke’s draw with West Brom on Sunday.He will be assessed by the Potters’ medical staff before a final decision on his inclusion is made. Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson, however, will meet up with his team-mates on Tuesday after being given extra time off after becoming a father for the first time.Strachan could do with no further injury scares as he looks to avoid a repeat of last October’s Hampden draw with the Lithuanians when they meet again in Vilnius on Friday.The result sparked a crisis of confidence that has gone on to hamper the Scots’ ability to build up momentum.But revenge is not one of the motivating factors the manager will be using this week.He said: “That game was a long time ago. We don’t [look back for motivation] as football players.“I’d be very annoyed if they thought they were going to try a bit extra here because they didn’t do so well in the last game.“What you’re looking for is a group of players who give you their all every time they step on the pitch.” Gordon Strachan last_img read more