Caldwell to lead Scotland out for first time
Gary Caldwell will captain Scotland in their international friendly away to Slovenia tomorrow. Caldwell, a defender with English Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic, will lead the side in Koper in the ongoing absence through illness of Darren Fletcher, with Scotland manager Craig Levein opted against a start for striker Kenny Miller.
Celtic's Charlie Mulgrew is set to win his first cap, while Bristol City's Richard Foster was added to the squad today after Alan Hutton became the fourth player to pull out. "I've never started the game as captain," said Caldwell, who will be winning his 47th cap.
"Obviously Fletch is the captain and Kenny is the vice-captain so it is an honour to get it, but they are obviously the men in possession and I am 100 per cent behind them. But to get it for one night will be special."
Levein, speaking at Glasgow Airport, said the versatile Mulgrew would be deployed on the left side of the Scottish defence. "Charlie will play left-back," Levein said. "He would have been in the squad in November in Cyprus but he was injured. He was gutted that he couldn't make it. He is playing out his skin, he has improved enormously."
Miller will not start after Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay asked Levein to go easy on the 32-year-old following the Welsh side's League Cup final penalty shoot-out defeat by Liverpool. "Kenny will be on the bench but the manager has named a team that will be very, very competitive from the first whistle," said assistant coach Kenny Black.
"There will be an opportunity for lads to maybe get part of the game. Kenny is desperate to play but you saw the game on Sunday, the cup final, and we just felt it would be better having Kenny as back-up. Craig Mackail-Smith will play up front."
Full-back Foster, 26, came in after Aston Villa's Hutton suffered a hamstring problem. Celtic midfielder Scott Brown (groin), Blackpool winger Matt Phillips (hamstring) and Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley (calf) had all previously withdrawn because of injury.
Scotland, who last featured in the finals of a major tournament at the 1998 FIFA World Cup™ in France, are using the trip to Slovenia as part of the build-up to their qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.