Steve Clarke addresses Ryan Jack row with Rangers, Kieran Tierney omission and explains Lawrence Shankland's Scotland call-up
Steve Clarke feels Lawrence Shankland deserves his Scotland chance after an impressive start to the league season with Dundee United.
The former Aberdeen youngster, who hit the headlines thanks to his scoring exploits at Ayr United, was a surprise inclusion in the playing pool set to travel to Russia and San Marino later this month.
Speaking after the squad announcement, the former Kilmarnock boss said: "Obviously Lawrence is a goalscorer, he's in form.
"I know Lawrence quite well from my time here in Scotland having watched him a few times, and it's not an area that we are overburdened with top strikers.
"He is in form and deserves his chance. The best way to look at him and gauge what level he is at is to bring him into the squad.
"It's an opportunity to have him in the group. Obviously he is going to come into the group with a lot of confidence. He scores goals with his head, left foot, right foot.
"He's a natural finisher and that's something maybe we haven't had in the squad recently. So hopefully this will address that."
Clarke and his staff were branded "careless" by Steven Gerrard in their treatment of Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack after the 27-year-old aggravated a knee injury during the last international break, but the Scotland boss explained the situation.
"I understand Steven's point of view because when you send a player to international football and he comes back injured, you're always going to be upset," he said.
"With me, my staff and the player, there was probably a lack of communication so we have to work on that, we have to be better on that in the future and hopefully we will be."
Former Celtic defender Kieran Tierney had been tipped for a return to the international fold after making his Arsenal debut last week following a lengthy spell out with pelvic trouble, but was omitted from the squad.
Clarke added: "I was close to selecting Kieran. Arsenal indicated to us they would prefer us not to select him at this time because he has only played 70 minutes of football."