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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 9, 2006

Scotland boss blasts Bhoys after trio withdraw

GLASGOW, May 9 (Reuters) - Scotland manager Walter Smith is unhappy with Celtic after they withdrew three players from his squad so they could play testimonials for Roy Keane and Alan Shearer this week.

The Scotland squad have flown to Japan for the Kirin Cup, a three-team tournament with Japan and Bulgaria, and have been forced to travel without David Marshall, Shaun Maloney and Stephen McManus, Smith said.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan had earlier said that if Smith had insisted the players travelled, they would have gone.

Smith disputed this. 'In the conversation we had, he stated to me he'd withdraw all Celtic players from the (Kirin Cup) tournament.

'That meant the three players I had named, plus Stilian Petrov with Bulgaria and Japan's Shunsuke Nakamura.

'I can't insist on anything...I have no recourse because they (the Kirin Cup games) are friendlies.'

Celtic play Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday to honour Keane, who played with United from 1993 before signing with the Scottish side last December. They face Newcastle United and Shearer, who is retiring, two days later.

Smith also criticised numerous pull-outs that Scotland's under-21 side have suffered over the past two years and warned players that non-appearance could affect their international future.

'We have been hit with a load of call-offs and some have been questioned becuase they have never turned up for the under-21s,' he said.

'When I come back we are going to sit down and look at this. There is no doubt some young players don't place a great importance on playing at under-21 level.

'If they don't want to turn up then they will not be picked for the national team while I am the manager.'

Scotland play Bulgaria on Thursday and Japan on Saturday in the Kirin Cup.

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