Football: Gallacher awaits the call as Brown ponders attacking options
Wednesday 29 September 1999
Everton's Don Hutchison, who has made a good start to his international career playing in a new role, is suspended for the first game, so the big question for Brown is to find a suitable partner in attack for Billy Dodds of Dundee United.
It will be a difficult choice. Kevin Gallacher is out of favour at Blackburn while the likes of Gary McSwegan of Hearts and Mark Burchill of Celtic are untried at this level.
Gallacher's experience could tip the balance in his favour, although Rangers' Neil McCann is another possibility. Scotland know that victory next Tuesday at Ibrox will secure a play-off spot in Group Nine behind the runaway leaders, the Czech Republic. They then round off their campaign against Lithuania at Hampden the following Saturday.
Brown was heartened by the 2-1 victory against Bosnia in Sarajevo earlier this month, although Scotland followed that performance with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Estonia in Tallinn. Allan Johnston of Sunderland is unlikely to be recalled as he has still not resolved his contract dispute with his club and is clearly lacking match fitness. But Darren Jackson, who has returned to form with high-flying Hearts, could be called up.
Jackson, who can play in midfield or up front, has been impressive in the Edinburgh club's fine start to the season. Hearts could be well represented, with Paul Ritchie and Colin Cameron also in the frame for places in the squad.
Everton are also likely to have a good presence despite the absence of Hutchison. David Weir and John Collins look certain to be included, but Scot Gemmill's place is not quite so secure.
The Scottish First Division club Greenock Morton are ready to throw open the doors to Cappielow Park - to stop vandals breaking in.
Morton have suffered 45 break-ins over the last month, which has resulted in damage running into thousands of pounds. Snapped goalposts were the latest disaster to greet staff on Monday. "We have already employed a nightwatchman but at one stage he was shot at," said Morton's chief executive Steve Morgan. "Police make regular patrols but even their car was vandalised. Unfortunately, we are in an area where children have too much time on their hands and it seems to result in wanton vandalism to our ground."
Having ditched plans to relocate to a nearby site, Morton are now trying to rebuild their present home to meet the minimum criteria for entry into the Premier League. However, unless the vandals can be stopped, more work may be required.
"It is society's problem rather than Morton's," Morgan said. "We are considering opening the doors on Sundays to allow children to play football on the pitch and get the squad to give coaching sessions. It might help foster more of a community spirit and deter the vandals."
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