Saturday, October 9, 2010

Scots hopeful over injury doubts

Scotland right-back Alan Hutton
Hutton was passed fit to face the Czech Republic in Prague

Four Scotland players missed training on Sunday, but assistant manager Peter Houston is hopeful all of them will be available to face Spain on Tuesday.

Defenders Alan Hutton, Gary Caldwell and Steven Whittaker, plus midfielder Graham Dorrans, were rested.

"The majority, if not all" would be passed fit for the Hampden match, according to Houston.

Midfielder Darren Fletcher, who took a knock in Friday's defeat by the Czech Republic, was fit to train.

Barry Robson picked up a yellow card after coming on as a substitute and that leaves the Middlesbrough midfielder suspended for the visit by the world and European champions.

Gary Caldwell is putting himself up for selection

Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston

But Lee McCulloch has rejoined the squad after serving a ban as Scotland lost their unbeaten record in their Euro 2012 Group I qualifier in Prague.

McCulloch has been suffering from a cold and a hip injury meant he missed Rangers' last match against Hearts, but he is hopeful of being fit to face Spain.

Wigan centre-back Caldwell played 75 minutes of the 1-0 defeat to the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday, his first action of the season for club or country following a hip operation.

Before Caldwell's return to the Scotland squad was announced, club manager Roberto Martinez said he had an agreement with Scotland coach Craig Levein that the 28-year-old would not be used in both Group I qualifiers.

But Houston did not rule out the former Celtic and Hibernian defender making back-to-back appearances.

"Caldwell has been feeling good," he said. "He knows he's been out for a while, but nobody knows his body better than himself.

"And he was keen to do something today and he's putting himself up for selection."

Caldwell was drafted in to perform a holding midfield role that might otherwise have gone to McCulloch or injured Aberdeen man Paul Hartley.

McCulloch is hopeful of a recall after serving his suspension and having extra time to recover from injury.

"I have a wee touch of the cold, but I will be fine," he told BBC Scotland.

"I picked up a knock in the last Champions League game that Rangers had and I missed the weekend game at Hearts, so hopefully I will be able to recover in time."

Hutton had been an injury doubt with a groin problem ahead of the match in Prague, but the Scots hope the Tottenham Hotspur right-back will again manage to start.

Rangers utility man Whittaker picked up a knock against the Czechs, while West Brom midfielder Dorrans is nursing a hamstring problem.

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