Marc McNulty and Liam Palmer win Scotland call-ups


Hibernian’s Marc McNulty has scored six goals in eight appearances since joining on loan from Reading

Hibernian forward Marc McNulty and Sheffield Wednesday defender Liam Palmer have been named in Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad.

The uncapped pair are in the 27-man squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Celtic’s on-loan winger Oliver Burke could win his first cap in two years.

First-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregorannounced his international retirementon Monday, leaving three keepers with one cap apiece in the squad.

Millwall’s Jordan Archer, Celtic’s Scott Bain and Jon McLaughlin of Sunderland are all in contention for a starting place, with 54-time cap Craig Gordon also missing, having not played for Celtic since the 1-0 loss to Rangers on 29 December.

There are notable exclusions for Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack, Celtic defender Jack Hendry, and Fulham midfielders Tom Cairney and Kevin McDonald.

McNulty, on loan at Hibs from Reading, has scored six goals in his eight appearances so far, while Palmer, 27, who can play at right-back or in midfield, has been a Wednesday regular in the Championship this term. He has played eight times for Scotland U21s.

Burke, 21, has scored four goals since moving to Glasgow on loan from West Brom in January. He won the last of his five caps in a friendly against Canada in 2017.

McGregor’s retirement a ‘blow’ to Scotland

McLeish would not be drawn on which goalkeeper would start against Kazakhstan and San Marino, but has urged the three men in his squad to be inspired by the performances of McGregor.

“It’s a great blow for us,” McLeish said of McGregor’s decision. “Allan has been in great form this season for club and country, but I kind of knew this day would come.

“We wanted to help him. I gave him a couple of days to think about it and he’s come back with the same answer. Sadly we lose him. We launched his career in the national team and at Rangers, and now it’s time for another goalkeeper to be launched.

“People have to start somewhere. The way I see it it’s an opportunity for one of the goalkeepers to excel and show that they can become an international goalkeeper on a regular basis.

“He could have bowed out at any time. He gave us everything. He was fantastic in the Nations League. You want the young guys who are going to take over to make that inspirational for them.

“He is 37. I finished at 35. I know how your legs go, some parts of your body go at that particular age. Allan’s been through the wars over the last couple of years, he’s suffered back injuries, knee injuries, and to come back from that and to play at the level is a great feat and a tribute to him.”

McTominay’s ‘star is rising’

McLeish says Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay’s “star is rising” after he shone in the English Premier League and Champions League under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“He was exceptional against Liverpool and in the European games,” said McLeish. “We’re delighted with the experience he’s gained and that PSG game where he did a number on [Marco] Verratti – he annoyed the wee guy all night. And that’s got to be good for Scotland.”

The Scotland boss also confirmed Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson will not play on the plastic pitch against Kazakhstan due to agreements with their clubs.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers:Jordan Archer (Millwall), Scott Bain (Celtic), Jon McLaughlin (Sunderland)

Defenders:David Bates (Hamburg), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen O’Donnell (Kilmarnock), Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), John Souttar (Hearts), Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Midfielders:Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday), John Fleck (Sheffield United), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Kenny McLean (Norwich City), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Oliver Burke (Celtic), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)

Forwards:Oli McBurnie (Swansea), Marc McNulty (Hibernian), Lewis Morgan (Sunderland), Johnny Russell (Kansas City).

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