Clarke denies Kilmarnock bias after announcing first Scotland squad

Dan Butterfield
Andrew Robertson Scotland TEAMtalk

Steve Clarke has named four Kilmarnock players in his first Scotland squad.

The former Rugby Park manager has called up full-backs Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor, centre-back Stuart Findlay and striker Eamonn Brophy.

Hull goalkeeper David Marshall and Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney have been recalled for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus and Belgium.

There are no places for Steven Fletcher, Matt Ritchie or Robert Snodgrass, who had been missing from recent squads while managing fitness issues.

Winger Lewis Morgan, who finished the season on loan at Sunderland from Celtic, is included, as is the uncapped defender Michael Devlin of Aberdeen.

Marc McNulty, Johnny Russell, Oliver Burke will be vying for a place up front along with Brophy, who wins his first call-up along with Taylor.

Scotland host Cyprus on June 8 before facing the world’s top-ranked team in Brussels three days later.

Clarke also confirmed his backroom staff would include his former Kilmarnock assistant Alex Dyer, who remains on the staff at Rugby Park.

Former Republic of Ireland international Steven Reid will also join the staff and Celtic goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods will continue in the role he filled under Clarke’s predecessor, Alex McLeish.

On the Kilmarnock quartet, Clarke said: “People will look at it and probably think, ‘he’s just picking players from Kilmarnock for the sake of it’. It’s not true. All the boys deserve to be there.

“Stephen O’Donnell is an established player at right-back, seven caps. Stuart Findlay was in the last squad that Alex picked, Stuart has had a great season.

“We have one or two injury problems in the left-back position, Andy Robertson has still to get through the Champions League final, Kieran Tierney is out, Barry Douglas, who I spoke to, is also injured.

“So it was just a case of promoting Greg up from the very good performances he has had for Scotland Under-21s. He had a terrific season, probably the most consistent left-back in the SPL, so he deserves his chance.

“Up front I have a lot of injury problems and Eamonn Brophy was an obvious choice for me.”