Scotland's injury problems ahead of their FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers against the Netherlands and Iceland mounted on Wednesday when Celtic midfielder Paul Hartley became the fourth player to withdraw from George Burley's squad.
A hamstring problem has ruled Hartley out of both Saturday's match against the Dutch in Amsterdam and Wednesday's clash with Iceland at Hampden. Rangers defenders David Weir and Kirk Broadfoot and the Derby winger Kris Commons have all been ruled out of at least the Netherlands match, although, unlike Hartley, none of that trio were likely to start in Amsterdam.
Celtic centre-half Stephen McManus is extremely doubtful for the match against the Dutch, but Rangers captain Barry Ferguson and Kenny Miller are both expected to shake off niggling injuries in time. Burley called up Rangers full-back Steven Whittaker as extra cover on Tuesday and he may now have to consider further additions to his squad.
The two upcoming matches will have a profound bearing on Scotland's chances of reaching the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa next year. Netherlands, who top the group with nine points after three wins in their first three matches, look favourites to clinch the automatic qualifying spot with Scotland, second with four points from three matches, battling Iceland, Norway and Macedonia for the play-off slot available to the runners-up.