Booth set to earn recall

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The Independent Online
Scottish football

DAVID MCKINNEY

Scott Booth, the Aberdeen forward, is certain to be named in the Scotland squad tomorrow for the forthcoming European Championship match against Finland at Hampden.

Having scored three goals in the last two games including the winner against Falkirk on Saturday, the striker has earned a recall to the international scene for the first time since scoring in Scotland's 1-1 draw with Russia at Hampden last November.

However, Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, who was at Brickville to watch Booth will resist the temptation to include his Aberdeen team-mate, Eoin Jess, who has been operating in midfield for the Dons.

Duncan Ferguson will visit a specialist this week to decide if an operation is necessary on a groin problem but the news is unlikely to be a hammer blow to Brown who has indicated that the Everton striker even, if fit, would not have been named.

"I don't think Duncan is ready for an international game, although I see him as an important weapon for us in the future," Brown said. "I would also welcome the return from injury of Colin Hendry because the Finns are a big side so his aerial power would be useful."

Brown will speak to Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, today to determine the fitness of Andy Goram and will then speak to the player before deciding if he should be in the squad. In doing so, Brown hopes to avoid the repeat of events prior to the game against Greece when Goram withdrew claiming he was not focused enough for the game.

A group of Asian businessmen will today attempt to buy control of Partick Thistle. They will hold talks with Jim Oliver, the club chairman, in an effort to purchase a 51 per cent shareholding in the Glasgow club with the promise that pounds 1m would be made available for players.

However, Oliver has stated that the club is not for sale and although he has indicated that his shares could be bought if the price is right Oliver's valuation is currently higher than the consortium are willing to pay.

Celtic and Aberdeen grasped the psychological advantage over Raith Rovers and Falkirk, respectively, with league wins before their midweek Coca- Cola Cup meetings against the same sides. And with Rangers also taking three points in a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock, the top of the Premier Division after day one encompasses the three teams many observers believe will contest the title.

After unfurling the league flag at Ibrox, Rangers made their supporters wait until the 79th minute for the goal, which came from Stuart McCall. Celtic supporters, too, had an anxious 80 minutes before their Dutch striker, Pierre van Hooydonk, scored for them.

John Inglis, Billy Dodds and Scott Booth scored Aberdeen's goals.

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