Steve Clarke says Hearts players Craig Gordon and Steven Naismith are still in Scotland's plans

National coach names squad and explains absences

Steven Naismith is still in the thoughts of Scotland coach Steve Clarke.
Steven Naismith is still in the thoughts of Scotland coach Steve Clarke.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has reassured Hearts players Craig Gordon and Steven Naismith that they can still earn a place in his squad despite being left out today.

Clarke named a 24-man pool for next month’s Nations League group matches against Israel and Czech Republic without selecting anyone from Tynecastle Park.

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On-loan Livingston goalkeeper Robby McCrorie and Queens Park Rangers forward Lyndon Dykes received their first call-ups with Gordon and Naismith not involved.

Hearts were controversially relegated during the summer and won’t begin playing competitive games until October, thus their players are short of match action.

Clarke insisted both Gordon and Naismith are still in his thoughts and could return in his next squad for matches in October, including the vital European Championship play-off semi-final which is also against Israel.

“They [Hearts] have Steven and Craig Gordon, who has gone there as well with the intention of trying to force his way into the international squad,” said the national coach.

“I could have picked them but they’re both very experienced players who, if they had to come into the next squad, will be ready to come in whenever.

“It’s not as if they’re young and they need to come in and learn the ropes of international football. They’ve got lots of caps between them.

“I’ve got no worries. If I need to pick either of those two in the future, then it’s no big issue.”

Clarke also omitted winger Ryan Fraser but recalled Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Liam Cooper.

FULL SCOTLAND SQUAD

GoalkeepersDavid Marshall (Derby County)Robby McCrorie (Livingston, on loan from Rangers)Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)

DefendersLiam Cooper (Leeds United)Declan Gallagher (Motherwell)Scott McKenna (Aberdeen)Stephen O’Donnell (Motherwell)Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday)Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)Greg Taylor (Celtic)Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)

MidfieldersStuart Armstrong (Southampton)Ryan Christie (Celtic)John Fleck (Sheffield United)Ryan Jack (Rangers)John McGinn (Aston Villa)Callum McGregor (Celtic)Kenny McLean (Norwich City)Scott McTominay (Manchester United)

ForwardsOliver Burke (West Bromwich Albion)Lyndon Dykes (QPR)James Forrest (Celtic)Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United)Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United)

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