Steven Naismith drafted in to Scotland set-up after Austin MacPhee ruled out with Covid-19

New Scotland assistant manager Austin MacPhee is to miss the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifier triple-header after contracting Covid-19.

Hearts' Football Development Manager Steven Naismith has been rafted into the Scotland coaching set-up
Hearts' Football Development Manager Steven Naismith has been rafted into the Scotland coaching set-up

The former Hearts caretaker boss only joined the national team set-up earlier this month, replacing the outgoing Steven Reid, but will miss the games against Denmark, Moldova, and Austria while he recuperates.

Former Hearts striker Steven Naismith, who is currently football development manager at Tynecastle Park, has been drafted in as a temporary replacement.

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Manager Steve Clarke said: “I was hoping I would have a new coaching team in place; at the very last minute I asked Steven Naismith, who I know as a player, to step up and become an extra pair of eyes on the training pitch.”

New Scotland assistant boss Austin MacPhee will miss the upcoming World Cup qualifier triple-header with Covid-19

Clarke has already had to deal with the enforced absences of midfielder John McGinn, and defender Nathan Patterson, who are both following government guidelines relating to coronavirus and will not be available for the match against the Danes.

Aston Villa’s McGinn tested positive for Covid-19 but has no symptoms and is "feeling fine” while the Rangers right-back is self-isolating after being identified as a close contact.

Celtic duo Greg Taylor and winger James Forrest have both pulled out of the squad through injury with Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong of Southampton already ruled out for similar reasons.

Clarke has no plans to call up any replacements but has just five available midfielders going into the match at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen including the uncapped Lewis Ferguson, Billy Gilmour, David Turnbull, Kenny McLean, and Callum McGregor.

Speaking during a press conference ahead of the Denmark clash the Scotland boss said: “Two years into my international career, it has probably been the most disruptive camp in terms of call-offs, which is disappointing.

"But I think we've got enough in the current group to go to Denmark and hopefully get the result we want.

"Medical information tells me that both John [McGinn] and Nathan [Patterson] should join us after the Denmark game.

"I won't need to look too deep for replacements for those two. I'll work with a slightly smaller squad for the Denmark game.”

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