Motherwell striker Ross McCormack's recent form has earned him promotion from the U-21s to the senior Scotland squad for a friendly against Czech Republic in Prague on 30 May. While the Czechs fine-tune their preparations for UEFA EURO 2008, the Scots will be using the match as a warm-up for their campaign to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, which begins with a September trip to Macedonia.
End-of-season fatigue and injuries have taken their toll on George Burley's options for the match with Rangers quartet Allan McGregor, Barry Ferguson, Lee McCulloch and David Weir - along with Celtic midfielder Scott Brown - all left out of the squad. "I've got a youthful squad, there are five uncapped players and they will get a feel for it," said Burley, who will be taking charge of his second match since succeeding Alex McLeish as coach.
"We have 16 players who are 26 and under, so it is a squad who are progressing in their careers and who are still improving. We are looking forward to the next few years. It's a game at the end of the season and we are looking for young, fresh players with something to prove."
One of those players is Motherwell forward McCormack, and Burley is confident he has what it takes to impress at senior international level. "Ross has had a good season. He has done well with Billy Stark in the Under-21s," he said.
"I'm a firm believer that, if you do well with the Under-21s, you should get to move up to the senior squad. There is no doubt the boy has got ability and I'm delighted to move him up."
The most notable absentee for Scotland is captain Barry
Ferguson, who is expected to have ankle surgery once Rangers
finally finish their season. "Barry has been struggling for
the last few months with an ankle problem and, because of the
amount of games he's played, I thought it was important to
allow that to settle down," Burley explained.
Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Sunderland/ENG), David Marshall (Norwich/ENG)
Defenders: Russell Anderson (Sunderland/ENG), Christophe Berra (Hearts), Gary Caldwell (Celtic), Christian Dailly (Rangers), Alan Hutton (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Stephen McManus (Celtic), Kevin McNaughton (Cardiff City/WAL), Gary Naysmith (Sheffield United/ENG), Steven Whittaker (Rangers)
Midfielders: Darren Fletcher (Manchester United/ENG), Paul Hartley (Celtic), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Gavin Rae (Cardiff City/WAL), Barry Robson (Celtic), Kevin Thomson (Rangers)
Forwards: Kris Boyd (Rangers), Steven Fletcher (Hibernian), Ross McCormack (Motherwell), James McFadden (Birmingham City/ENG), Shaun Maloney (Aston Villa/ENG), Kenny Miller (Derby County/ENG).