Full-back O’Donnell, pictured inset, who has been capped six times since making his international debut in May, was forced to sit out Kilmarnock’s 1-0 Premiership win over Hearts yesterday after straining his hamstring in training, while fellow defender Mulgrew was an absentee as Blackburn Rovers drew 1-1 with Rotherham United.
The centre-half was not the only English-based player to call off, as midfielder McDonald is also struggling with a hamstring injury and has been ruled out of Fulham’s match against Liverpool this afternoon.
The call-offs, which follow goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin being excused as Sunderland have a League One fixture with Wycombe Wanderers on the same day Scotland face Albania in Shkoder, leaves McLeish with limited defensive options.
Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson could step into the right-back berth, having represented his country there before, but he has more recently been deployed in a forward role at club level (and scored again against Brighton yesterday), while Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie usually plays in midfield these days.
That leaves McLeish with Aberdeen duo Scott McKenna and newcomer Michael Devlin, as well as star men Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson, provided they both come through their club matches this afternoon.
Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald has already been called up as a replacement for McLaughlin as Scotland target two wins against Albania next Saturday and at home to Israel three days later, to finish top of Group C.