Celtic shock at Mackay-Steven & Armstrong omission

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CELTIC assistant manager John Collins admits he was shocked to see recent recruits Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven omitted from Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad.

Strachan has named a 26-man squad for next week’s double header with Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

Omitted: Gary Mackay'Steven and Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS

Omitted: Gary Mackay'Steven and Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS

But former Dundee United duo Armstrong and Mackay-Steven have failed to make it into his plans, despite a storming start to their careers at Celtic.

Strachan, though, seemed to suggest the pair were simply carrying on at the same level they had been performing at while at Tannadice, asking: “Have they kicked on? Or are they the same players they were five or six months ago?”

But Collins believes they are already good enough to feature for the national side: “I have got to be honest, I am surprised that they were not called up.

“They have done very well for us but the their time will come. They are young players and I have no doubt they will get themselves into Scotland squads of the future.

“In the six or seven weeks they have been here, their performances out on the pitch and in training have been excellent. They have lots of talent and are only going to get better with age. Gordon has got lots of good players to pick from and it’s a tough job. But their time will come.”

Winger James Forrest did earn a recall but striker Leigh Griffiths is another Hoops player to be overlooked, even after scoring seven goals in his last 13 games.

“Gordon has lots of good strikers but it’s up to Leigh to continue scoring goals and working hard and force himself in,” said Collins.

Armstrong and Mackay-Steven were cup-tied and watched from the Hampden stands as Celtic beat their old side to the Scottish League Cup with a 2-0 win on Sunday.

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