Concern for Strachan as Martin sits out training
Centre-half Russell Martin sat out training last night at the Westfalenstadion as Scotland were handed an injury concern they could have done without before a date with the world champions.
Martin, who was a certain starter in Gordon Strachan’s side, is nursing a groin strain that places his participation in tonight’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany in severe doubt. Brighton and Hove Albion’s Gordon Greer is on standby to partner Grant Hanley in the centre of defence.
Scotland are already short in this area of the park after Christophe Berra’s withdrawal last week. Left-back Andy Robertson has also dropped out through injury.
Germany, meanwhile, have the luxury of being able to leave out Mario Götze, their World Cup final winner, with Mario Gómez expected to be given the main striking role this evening.
Strachan was doing his best to sound upbeat last night as he digested the late uncertainty over such a crucial position. Martin will undergo a fitness test this morning and if the Norwich City player is still feeling discomfort, the 33-year-old Greer will step in.
“He [Martin] just felt it a bit yesterday so we took him out of training, just as a precaution,” Strachan said. “We will name the team right before the training session [in the morning]. He will train in the morning and we will find out then.”
“We have been doing all right at centre-half,” he added. “We have been getting on well. If you look at Gordon Greer when he has come in – results when he and Hanley have played together have been OK.”
Strachan has still to make a decision over his goalkeeper, claiming that he now has three credible starters – Allan McGregor, David Marshall and Craig Gordon.
Darren Fletcher, Scotland’s captain, was annoyed by a press conference question from a German journalist asking him to describe Scotland’s team and players.
“I think it’s a bit disrespectful you don’t know too much about the Scotland team, to be honest,” he said. “We have got a lot of good players. I think they are well-known. We play in the Premier League, a lot of us, and we are on an unbeaten run of six matches.”