STRIKER Tony Watt has been omitted from the Scotland squad for the forthcoming Uefa Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Slovakia and Georgia amid concerns over his fitness.
The Celtic player, who is on loan at Lierse, has recently been criticised for his commitment and workrate by the Belgian club’s manager Stanley Menzo, and under-21 coach Billy Stark, who announced his squad yesterday, confirmed that those isssues lay behind Watt’s omission.
He said: “It has been highlighted over the last week by the Belgium manager. He does need to work on his fitness. Every time he has come to us he has flagged up that his fitness is not what it should be and it is very difficult for us to gain that fitness. I just felt that, in the last couple of games, maybe that has shown up a wee bit, so we go with ones that are in a good, fit state.
“I will speak to him. I think it will bother him. One thing is, he has always shown up and shown a keenness to be involved.”
Meanwhile, Stark heaped praise on Andrew Robertson after calling the Dundee United defender into his squad for the first time.
The 19-year-old left-back only went professional in the summer after signing from Queen’s Park and has since turned in a series of impressive performances.
United manager Jackie McNamara has described Robertson as “a revelation” and Stark added his own approval. He said: “I saw Andy with Queen’s Park a few times last season and I was really impressed with him. Obviously you are making a judgement of a player playing in the Third Division against players that are playing higher up.
“But, since he has gone to Dundee United, he has hit the ground running and he has grasped the left-back position from the off. In the first televised game against Partick Thistle he was impressive.
“We have been keeping an eye on him since then and he has been rewarded by getting in and it has been well-deserved.”
Scotland host joint group leaders Slovakia at St Mirren Park on 10 October, before travelling to Tbilisi to face Georgia four days later. The Scots opened the campaign with a 3-0 win over Luxembourg at St Mirren Park before losing 4-0 away to Holland.
• Eighteen-year-old Chelsea forward Islam Feruz will join the Scotland under-19 squad which will go to Belarus for the European Championships.
Squad: Jordan Archer (Tottenham), Christopher Kettings (Blackpool, on loan to York); Stuart Findlay (Celtic); Jack Grimmer (Fulham), Ryan Jack (Aberdeen), Jordan McGhee (Hearts) Andrew Robertson (Dundee United), Clark Robertson (Aberdeen), Lewis Toshney (Celtic); Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United), Fraser Fyvie (Wigan), John Herron (Celtic), Jason Holt (Hearts), Lewis Macleod (Rangers), Dylan McGeouch (Celtic); Mark Beck (Carlisle), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Stevie May (St Johnstone), Callum McGregor (Celtic, on loan to Notts County), Callum Paterson (Hearts).