Prolific Mackie wins call-up into squad
Scotland manager Craig Levein has called up Jamie Mackie for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Czech Republic and Spain.
Mackie was born in Dorking, Surrey, but qualifies for Scotland through his grandfather, who is from Kilmarnock. Middlesbrough striker Kris Boyd has been dropped but there are recalls for goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who has recovered from a second arm break in the space of nine months and Wigan defender Gary Caldwell, who is fit again following a hip operation in the summer. Celtic striker Shaun Maloney also returns to the squad.
Scotland face the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday week before welcoming world and European champions Spain to Hampden the following Tuesday.
At a opening of a new sporting facility in Motherwell, Levein explained his decisions, saying: "I was aware of Jamie at the start of the season. He has been watched on four separate occasions and each report has been excellent. We have been looking high and low to add to the existing pool that we can pick from.
"I believe his grandfather was born in Kilmarnock so he fits the criteria and I'm happy to have him on board. If you look at the strikers I have picked, I have picked players on form, that is basically it. I have had a chat with Kris and explained that to him.
"He is a top goalscorer and I have no doubt that once he hits a bit of form he will be back involved in the squad. Shaun has had a difficult time of it last year with injuries and I still think he has a bit to go to be honest. I think there is more to come but I'm really pleased that he's managed to get a number of games under his belt and he is a quality player.''
Levein revealed that Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor will keep his place in goal for the Czech Republic game and admitted that he has decisions to make over his utilisation of Caldwell.
"Craig Gordon won't start the match against the Czech Republic,'' the Scotland boss said. "He is back in training, he did play a reserve match the other night and did very well.
"I believe that he is some way towards full fitness and I feel it is important to get him back in the squad again but I am really happy with Allan McGregor. I won't make any secret of it, Allan will be the starting 'keeper provided everything goes well between now and the first match.
"Gary is fit to play, whether he is fully match fit is a different question and whether he is fit to play 90 minutes is another question. Gary is a really important player to me and the national team.
"Not only is he a good player but he is a great leader and a good guy to have around the rest of the squad. I had a chat with his manager Rob Martinez and we are not going to do anything to jeopardise the lad.
"But he has been back in training and played a part in two reserve games so he is not just back in the squad to gee people up, he is someone I will consider using if I think it is appropriate.''
The Scots have four points from their opening two qualifiers against Lithuania and Liechtenstein.
Scotland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Czech Republic and Spain on October 8 and 12:
McGregor (Rangers), Gilks (Blackpool), Gordon (Sunderland); Hutton (Tottenham), Berra (Wolves), Broadfoot (Rangers), McManus (Middlesbrough), G Caldwell (Wigan), Weir (Rangers), Whittaker (Rangers); Adam (Blackpool), Brown (Celtic), Dorrans (West Brom), McCulloch (Rangers), Fletcher (Manchester United), Morrison (West Brom), Robson (Middlesbrough), McEveley (Barnsley), Maloney (Celtic); Fletcher (Wolves), Iwelumo (Burnley), Mackie (QPR), Miller (Rangers), Naismith (Rangers).
• McCulloch is suspended for the first game against the Czech Republic.