Scotland: Lee Wallace exit ‘won’t impact Barrie McKay debut’

Barrie McKay has been in excellent form this season for Rangers. Picture: SNS
Barrie McKay has been in excellent form this season for Rangers. Picture: SNS
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Scotland number two Mark McGhee insists Barrie McKay’s debut prospects have not been damaged by the withdrawal of Rangers team-mate Lee Wallace from the squad.

The Ibrox duo were called into Gordon Strachan’s squad for the upcoming friendly double-header with Italy and France after impressing with their combination play down the left for Mark Warburton’s Gers.

The Dark Blues boss was eager to see if the partnership which proved so fruitful during Rangers’ successful Ladbrokes Championship title chase could be transferred to the international stage.

But a hamstring complaint has cost Rangers skipper Wallace the chance to win his first cap in almost three years.

However, McGhee says McKay can still earn himself a place in the team on his own merits.

“Barrie’s best chance of playing is by performing well in training, which I have to say he has done so far,” said Strachan’s assistant manager.

“I remember when we played Croatia a few years back. The game was in the middle of June and we had late call-offs and late call-ups.

“Barry Bannan was one of those included and he impressed so well in training that he went on to play in the match as well as the next two or three after.

“So Gordon definitely takes how you perform in training into account and so far the boy has shown up well.”

Wallace and McKay were both among the Rangers players caught up in the chaotic and violent scenes following Saturday’s Scottish Cup final defeat to Hibernian.

Footage has emerged showing Wallace being punched by a Hibs fan but McGhee confirmed that incident played no part in the left-back’s decision not to travel to Malta for Sunday’s match with the Italians.

McKay, meanwhile, will find it tough to shake off his weekend memories after discovering his room-mate for the next week is Hibs midfielder John McGinn.

However, McGhee said: “Barrie doesn’t seem [too down]. He seems upbeat. I never lost a cup final so I don’t know that feeling but I imagine it would be difficult.

“However, the boy doesn’t seem to be showing any sign of that.”

Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur missed Wednesday’s training session at Mar Hall after joining up with the Scots late following his involvement in Saturday’s FA Cup final, as did Fulham striker Ross McCormack after a bout of toothache but both are expected to rejoin the rest of the squad on Thursday.

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