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Sep, 6, 2010

Boyd set for first Scotland start in three years

Middlesbrough striker Kris Boyd will start his first Scotland game for three years after being recalled along with James McFadden for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Liechtenstein.

Boyd will line up alongside former Rangers team-mate Kenny Miller up front, while McFadden also comes back in after coming off the bench for the last 25 minutes of Friday's goalless draw in Lithuania.

Boyd exiled himself from the international set-up amid frustration at being consistently overlooked by former manager George Burley.

The forward's last appearance in a competitive international came off the bench late in Scotland's 1-0 defeat in Macedonia two years ago in their opening World Cup group game.

The ex-Rangers hitman, who has scored seven goals for Scotland, will resume his successful partnership with Miller while McFadden could also join them up front in a possible 4-3-3 formation.

The change in personnel, and probably tactics, will please the Scotland support as they look for a convincing win to take them into a difficult double header against Czech Republic and Spain next month.

Boyd has started only six of his 16 internationals but each of those games has resulted in a Scotland victory, against Austria, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Georgia and the Faroe Islands, twice.

The 27-year-old has netted six times in those games with his other Scotland goal coming off the bench in a 1-0 win over South Africa.

Boyd restored himself to the Scotland fold after Levein took over and made his return in a 1-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic in March before being left out of subsequent games against Sweden and Lithuania.

But despite recalling Boyd, Levein has warned the Tartan Army not to expect a goal-fest against Liechtenstein, though he admitted a win is a must against a side that were beaten 4-0 by world champions Spain on Friday.

"If you look at the amount of caps the players have got, you will see that they have played together fairly regularly and there is a lot of experience in the side. They are a decent side," Levein said.

"My job is to try to explain to people, and explain to the players, that this isn't just a case of just turning up and thinking we are a team who are far superior to Liechtenstein, because we're not.

"My job is to explain that we have to do our jobs properly, we might have to be patient and I stress that. I don't want people to get carried away and caught up in the hype that we should be scoring loads of goals at Hampden - although I would love it if we did.

"We know that and we are here to win the game. I'm just trying to explain to people that it's not as simple as it looks at times. It's about picking the right team, putting people in the right positions and everybody playing well and playing at a decent tempo on the night.

"It's not about getting sucked into this idea that we are the better side and if we just knock the ball about for 90 minutes we will eventually win it. That's not how it works. We will have to take our chances."

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