Football: Creaney asked to fill void

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SCOTLAND, already planning to be without Gary McAllister because of a thigh strain for tomorrow's European Championship Group Eight match against the Faroe Islands at Hampden Park, yesterday lost the Rangers duo of David Robertson and Stuart McCall to injury.

Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, turned first to Chelsea's John Spencer and Darren Jackson, of Hibernian, only to find they were also unfit. He had more success with Gerry Creaney, Portsmouth's 24-year-old former Celtic striker, and Brian Grant, the Aberdeen midfielder, both of whom are uncapped.

Interestingly, the name of Manchester United's Brian McClair, was ignored, suggesting his Scotland career may be over.

Creaney, who with three goalkeepers in a 17-man squad is certain of at least a place on the bench, said: 'This has come right out of the blue. It's my first time in the senior squad, although I won about a dozen under-21 caps.

'I let it drift through my mind because I'm a Scottish striker scoring goals - I've got seven this season for Portsmouth - but I was still surprised. I scored two at Everton in the Coca-Cola Cup, which attracted a lot of attention.

'Then, after Saturday, Jim Smith gave me a few days off to see my girlfriend in Glasgow. She isn't too happy now] Craig Brown got in touch with my mother first and then me.'

Creaney, who was shunted out of his beloved Parkhead by Lou Macari last season, is renting out property in Glasgow, and Brown revealed he was finally contacted on his mobile telephone as he sought reinforcements.

The defender Colin Hendry has meanwhile warned his team- mates: 'I don't want another Euro nightmare.' Hendry and his club Blackburn are still overcoming the shock of a Uefa Cup exit at the hands of Swedish part-timers Trelleborgs. Now the 28-year-old is determined to make sure Scotland's concentration is right against the Faroes.

Meanwhile, the Scottish FA has decided not to prevent McAllister playing for Leeds against Tottenham on Saturday by invoking the Uefa 'five-day' ruling.

Kingsley Black, the Nottingham Forest winger who was called into Northern Ireland's squad to face Austria as a replacement for Steve Morrow, has had to withdraw.