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Scotland boss Gordon Strachan to give Celtic stars rest for Canada friendly

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan (SNS Group / Alan Harvey)
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan (SNS Group / Alan Harvey)

GORDON STRACHAN has told the Celtic players they won’t be part of his Scotland team to face Canada on Wednesday.

But there’s every indication that all five of the Parkhead men in his squad will have a key role in next Sunday’s vital World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.

Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest will get the chance to have a brief rest after playing against Dundee this afternoon.

Strachan said: “The Celtic players that start today probably won’t play against Canada.

“I’ve spoken to Brendan and the people at Celtic about that.

“I want to start the preparations for Canada on Monday morning and it’s hard to ask the Celtic players to have a game, then start training and thinking about another game straight away.

“Physically and mentally, you just cannot do it.

“That’s why I picked a larger than normal squad. We can get on working with the other 25 players for Canada.

“Slovenia use a couple of systems, so we will prepare for them both.

“I’ve not picked a team but I wouldn’t like the players going into the Canada game thinking it has no consequences for the selection of the team to play Slovenia.

“It has a lot of consequences, trust me.”

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon (SNS Group)
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon (SNS Group)

Although he won’t feature against the Canadians at Easter Road, Craig Gordon appears to have regained his place as Scotland’s No. 1.

Strachan spoke of his admiration for the way the keeper kept fighting for a spot and got his first cap for four years against England last November.

He said: “Overall, his game has been fantastic. He had two saves against Rangers last Sunday.

“His ability on the ball was never doubted by us. He’s a terrific passer of the ball. But what I think has happened under Brendan is that he’s in better positions to receive the ball

“It’s like a midfield player. If you get in better positions to receive, you have more time on the ball.

“I think Craig, Brendan and the coaching staff have worked on that to make him a more rounded keeper.

“It’s difficult for players to be away for eight or nine days and not get a game.

“Craig stuck at it and was rewarded with a big game like the England one. He’s had a couple of serious knockbacks in his career but has never given up.”

Scott Brown in action for Scotland
Scott Brown in action for Scotland

Scotland are well placed for goalkeepers but central defence has long been a problem.

Strachan is delighted to see former Celt Charlie Mulgrew now getting a regular game in defence for Blackburn.

Another player returning to the squad is Jordan Rhodes. The Tartan Army have often been frustrated by his exclusion.

The manager went on: “Jordan’s now getting a game at club level and seems to be enjoying life at Sheffield Wednesday.

“He’s back in the reckoning and you never know, he might start, he might get 20 minutes.

“He’s running freer, without any pressure. You never know what we might need in a game.”