Craig Gordon was today left out of the Scotland squad for next week's crucial FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in Norway. The Sunderland number one has struggled to recover from a knee injury after undergoing season-ending surgery at the start of May. Gordon is a huge loss for manager George Burley, with Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor's Scotland career over following his part in the 'Boozegate' saga.
Gordon's absence leaves Burley with three inexperienced goalkeepers at this level in Neil Alexander, David Marshall and Jamie Langfield. As expected, the talismanic James McFadden returns to the squad for the first time since November, while there are also recalls for Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney, Burnley defender Steven Caldwell, Preston full-back Callum Davidson and Rangers striker Steven Naismith.
Celtic midfielder Scott Brown is included, despite only recently returning from injury, but there is no place for veteran Rangers defender David Weir, Cardiff midfielder Gavin Rae or Derby's Gary Teale.
Manager George Burley is in doubt of Gordon's value to his side. "Craig is a top internaal keeper. "We tried to give it as long as possible. I spoke to (Sunderland manager) Steve Bruce yesterday and Craig.
"Barring a miracle, he's not going to be available. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks' time, he should be fit to play."
With five caps between them, there is no obvious contender among the three keepers to replace Gordon. Burley said: "We'll assess it like any other squad. We'll look at it in training. We've got three goalkeepers who are desperate to play."
The Scotland boss revealed he would also keep a close eye on Brown's fitness before deciding whether to play the midfielder. Burley said: "He had an operation in pre-season, got back to fitness again. With Scott, it's one day at a time. There's no doubt a fully fit Scott Brown is something Scotland need."