Football: Goram stakes his claim

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The Independent Online
Andy Goram comes face to face with Faustino Asprilla here tonight when Scotland, in their last friendly before Euro 96, take on Colombia in the Orange Bowl.

Goram, the Rangers goalkeeper, is starting a game for Scotland for the first time since December 1994. He has since played only half a match, in Denmark last month, but his re-call in place of Jim Leighton may well be a pointer to Craig Brown's preference for the finals.

Given that Brown previously stated his intention to play his strongest team in Miami, the inclusion of Goram looks significant indeed. Judged solely on ability and technique, Goram would be an automatic selection, notwithstanding Leighton's record of six clean sheets out of six in the qualifying group.

Gordon Durie, Scotland's scorer and best player in the defeat by the United States on Sunday, is troubled by a muscle spasm in his neck. Scott Booth is suffering from what Brown termed "fiery feet" (blisters), but they have emerged as the probable striking partnership and the management are anxious to use them in tandem again.

The Colombians, whose 0-0 draw in England last September provided Brown with his video viewing last night, are themselves gearing up for an important match. Next Sunday they play away to Peru in the World Cup, having opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Paraguay.

Asprilla, who escaped the frayed nerves of Newcastle to score the winner, is expected to start tonight. Carlos Valderrama, still sporting hair like an exploding root vegetable, is also present, but Goram need not worry about Colombia's goalkeeper charging into his territory at set-pieces. Despite hitting a post with a free-kick against Bolivia in March, Rene Higuita has not made the squad.

SCOTLAND (probable): Goram (Rangers); Calderwood (Tottenham), Hendry (Blackburn), Boyd (Celtic); Burley (Chelsea), McCall (Rangers), McAllister (Leeds), Collins (Celtic), T McKinlay (Celtic); Booth (Aberdeen) Durie (Rangers).