Ibrox quartet on invitation list for GB football team

RANGERS’ interests will come before Team GB when considering whether to sanction the involvement of any of players in the Olympic Games football tournament this year, Ally McCoist has confirmed.

It emerged yesterday that four of the Ibrox club’s players have been formally notified of their potential selection for Stuart Pearce’s squad for the London 2012 event. The Scottish international trio of Allan McGregor, Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith are joined by Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis on Pearce’s list of candidates.

Although Rangers manager McCoist supports the principle of Scottish players being allowed to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, despite SFA opposition, practical considerations are likely to see him prevent any of his first-team squad taking part.

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The Olympic football tournament runs from 25 July to 11 August this year, meaning it clashes with potential Champions League qualifying round fixtures and the start of the SPL season.

“We don’t have an official club stance on the Olympics just yet because we’ve not discussed it,” said McCoist. “From the players’ point of view, they’d obviously want to represent the nation at the Olympics and I can totally understand that and appreciate it. If I was in their shoes I’d probably be the same.

“But there is maybe a conflict of interests because we’ll have important games at that time, so my priority is and always will be with the football club. No further than that can I really say at the moment, because I don’t know the ins and outs of it. But the club and the welfare of the club will come first.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon expressed similar concerns about the Olympic tournament last month when it was revealed three of his players – Scott Brown, James Forrest and Adam Matthews – had been advised they would be considered for Team GB. It also emerged yesterday that Cardiff City and Scotland striker Kenny Miller has been longlisted to play for GB.