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May, 22, 2013

Commons retires from Scotland duty

Scotland midfielder Kris Commons has announced his retirement from international football after earning 12 caps for the national team.

Commons made the decision prior to Gordon Strachan naming his squad for Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Croatia next month, claiming he would like to focus on playing for Celtic and raising his young family.

The 29-year-old insists his retirement was not an impulsive decision and conversations with Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Strachan had decided his fate.

"I have enjoyed my time immensely with the Scotland team and it was a very proud moment every time I pulled on the Scotland shirt," Commons said on the Celtic website.

"I will always, of course, be a Scotland supporter. I have thought about this decision for some time. At this stage of my career I just want to give Celtic my 100 per cent commitment and ensure I can prolong my club career as long as possible.

"I also want to give my young family more attention, something I have not been able to do for some time. Neil Lennon had spoken to Gordon in person a while back and I was really pleased to speak to Gordon today.

"I am on very good terms with him and I wish him and the Scotland team all the very best for the future. I am sure Gordon will do a great job."

Strachan said: "I spoke to Kris tonight and understand his family considerations. I wish him the best of luck for the future."

Scotland's 28-man squad features a number of young and inexperienced players, with Gordon Greer, Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Jack, Gary Mackay-Steven and Tony Watt all hoping to earn their first caps.

"The thing about these players, if you look at my squad, not many of them play European football," Strachan said. "I've got to find out now if they can adjust to the style of European football and everything it entails.

"There is no point waiting for another year. We will find out now and give them the chance. We will not make a decision on one game whether they're going to have an international career but we will give them a chance to sample it.

"We might as well find out now and give them competitive games. Our chance is gone but Croatia will be competitive so the players are coming up against a competitive nation.

"Friendlies are useful, yes, but they don't have that edge to them and there will be an edge to this game."

Scotland have failed to win a game in the qualifying stages, but Strachan is more concerned about building for the future.

"It's exciting and I hope it's exciting for the players we have called in as well. It will be great to have a look at them," he said. "You look to the future but the immediate future is to get a performance and a victory against Croatia, which will be hard. But I look forward to it with the group of players we've got."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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