Kevin Kyle and David Weir were today recalled to the Scotland squad for the vital South Africa 2010 qualifiers with FYR Macedonia and Netherlands.

Striker Kyle, 28, has not played for his country for more than five years but has been a revelation since joining Kilmarnock in January. He has scored 10 goals in 14 appearances, nine of which have come in his last six games, and replaces the injured Ross McCormack in what is a 25-man Scotland squad.

Defender Weir, 39, was controversially axed by George Burley for this month's 4-0 thrashing in Norway, with the manager suggesting it was time to look at younger alternatives. But the result in Oslo and injuries and suspensions have prompted a U-turn over the Rangers captain.

Scotland skipper Stephen McManus has also been recalled, despite the Celtic defender having not played a competitive game since last season due to a knee injury.

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon is back having played his first match for Sunderland in more than four months in last night's Carling Cup second-round win at Norwich. That means there is no place for Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield.

Burnley captain Steven Caldwell has been included, although he has not kicked a ball in anger since limping out of the Norway defeat with a groin problem. Younger brother Gary is suspended for the Macedonia game after his sending off in Oslo, meaning Weir looks likely to earn his 64th cap a week on Saturday.

Should he feature in either game, he will become the oldest outfield player to represent his country since Jimmy McMenemy in 1920.

Burley's men currently lie third in Group 9 and must beat Macedonia on Saturday week and Holland the following Wednesday to stand any hope of reaching the play-offs.

Kyle was thrilled with his call-up, saying: "I'm over the moon. The manager (Jim Jefferies) broke the news to me this morning that I was picked and I couldn't quite believe it."

Kyle, who earned the last of his eight caps against Denmark in April 2004, admitted he thought his international career was over.

"I kind of did because my career lost form a little bit down in England and I just took the chance of coming back home and seeing how I'd work out in the SPL," said Kyle, who spent more than eight years playing south of the border before leaving Coventry at the end of January.

"Fortunately for me, it's worked out great. I've just knuckled down and I've got my rewards today."

Kyle's goals were credited with keeping Killie in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League last season. "So they say," he said. "No, I was lucky enough that the boys created chances and I put the ball in the back of the net, and we ended up staying up."

Kyle is sure Scotland can still rescue their World Cup campaign in similar fashion, adding: "Everybody knows what we have to do. I think if we can beat Macedonia on the Saturday, that puts us in a position where it's 90 minutes all or nothing against Holland."

Burley was in defiant mood at this morning's Hampden press conference to announce his squad, shrugging off suggestions he had two games left to keep his job and claiming he has battled against doubters even before he became boss.

He said: "I'm not even thinking about that. My future doesn't matter, it's about Scotland. We have two games left in this group. Keep my job? Who knows? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter to me.

"Every game, I will try my best for my country and do whatever I can to get the right results. Managers come and go. This is for my country and I will do my best no matter what. The criticism hasn't made any difference to me. For other people in the squad, who knows?

"I'm honoured to be manager, no matter what. I got all the criticism after the Norway game but I will take it on the chin. I've been knocked since I took the job. A lot of people didn't want me to take it, didn't think I was the right man. Even before a ball was kicked, I was being criticised.

"Nothing will change: my focus is for Scotland, my focus is for trying to qualify for the World Cup and do my best for the country."