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By ESPN Staff

McManus in Scotland squad

Celtic defender Stephen McManus has been named as one of three uncapped players in the Scotland squad to face the Faroe Islands and Lithuania in next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Hoops boss Gordon Strachan withdrew the 23-year-old from his country's Kirin Cup success in Japan at the end of last season.

But Scotland boss Walter Smith included him in last week's training camp and had no hesitation in naming him as part of his 23-man squad for the game at Celtic Park on September 2 and in Kaunas four days later.

Motherwell goalkeeper Graeme Smith and Hearts full-back Robbie Neilson have also been named in the squad.

The Scotland boss insists he will have no hesitation in selecting the trio of uncapped players if necessary.

Smith said: 'I am happy to bring them in to the squad.

'Most of them have been in big-match situations before and handled the training squad very well last week.

'I would not have them in the squad if I had any fears about playing them.

'They are in the squad on merit and I am sure, if they were called up to play, they would acquit themselves well.'

But Smith would have also chosen Rangers winger Chris Burke before he suffered an ankle injury in the friendly defeat by Zenit St Petersburg last night.

Smith added: 'He would have been involved in the squad, but, unfortunately, circumstances for Chris and his club changed and we will have to do without him.

'He is out for a period of time, which will go beyond the next two games, so he is out.'

But Smith refused to bemoan his luck with injuries to a number of key players including Scotland skipper Barry Ferguson, Wigan defender Andy Webster and Celtic striker Shaun Maloney.

He said: 'There is nothing we can do when that happens. Any team has four or five injuries so that is not unusual.

'We will have to get on with it. We have had withdrawals from the squad before, but we will have our fingers crossed after this weekend's games.

But Smith will delay naming a new captain in the absence of Ferguson.

He said: 'We will wait and see. There are a number of players who have captained their clubs previously so we will decide when we get them together.'


Goalkeepers: Neil Alexander (Cardiff City), Craig Gordon (Hearts), Graeme Smith (Motherwell)

Defenders: Graham Alexander (Preston North End), Russell Anderson (Aberdeen), Gary Caldwell (Celtic), Christian Dailly (West Ham), Stephen McManus (Celtic), Graeme Murty (Reading), Gary Naysmith (Everton), Robbie Neilson (Hearts), Steven Pressley (Hearts), David Weir (Everton).

Midfielders: Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), Paul Hartley (Hearts), Lee McCulloch (Wigan Athletic), Nigel Quashie (West Bromwich Albion), Scott Severin (Aberdeen), Gary Teale (Wigan Athletic).

Strikers: Kris Boyd (Rangers), James McFadden (Everton), Kenny Miller (Celtic), Garry O'Connor (Lokomotiv Moscow).