Football: Hendry back for Scotland

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The Independent Online
Colin Hendry has been reinstated in the Scotland squad for the vital World Cup qualifier against Latvia at Celtic Park on 11 October.

Scotland will qualify for the finals in France next season if they win the match - providing the Faroe Isles do not upset the form book and defeat Spain in their last match, which would instead send the Spanish to the the finals as Europe's best-placed runner-up.

Hendry missed the 4-1 victory in the last qualifier against Belarus at Aberdeen when he was recovering from concussion. But he is now fully fit and an integral part of the Blackburn side being revitalised by Roy Hodgson.

Brown is delighted to welcome Hendry back to the fold. "I know Colin is desperate to get back in this match. I know he didn't enjoy sitting it out when we played Belarus," the Scotland manager said.

Brown's squad is predictable, although Scot Gemmill is recalled after missing the Belarus match because of club commitments. Scotland defeated Latvia 2-0 last October in Riga, and the "Tartan Army" are confident Brown's side can complete the double and that they can pack their bags in readiness for France.

However, Brown warned: "Skonto Riga make up the majority of the Latvian national side, and I see they managed to progress in the Uefa Cup. It shows that things are levelling off in Europe."

The new breakaway league designed to improve Scotland's domestic standards came a step closer to reality yesterday - just hours after the latest night of failure on the European stage. Representatives of the 10 Premier Division rebel clubs and the Football League Management Committee agreed to set up a joint working group to discuss how the proposals will affect the smaller clubs.

After a "far-reaching" debate at Hampden Park, both sides were satisfied that the latest development would help resolve their financial worries about a separate league structure. But Peter Donald, the Scottish League secretary, warned there is still plenty of talking to do before consideration can be given to allow the top 10 to set up on their own.

"We are looking at the issues that would naturally flow from such a decision to try to find out full detailed information on the repercussions for the remaining members in the League," he said. "The 30 clubs do have concerns and questions which they still require answers to."

The smaller clubs are chiefly concerned with maintaining the current level of financial support offered by the present structure, as well as retaining promotion to the proposed new Premier League.

SCOTLAND SQUAD (World Cup qualifier v Latvia, Celtic Park, Glasgow, 11 October): Goram (Rangers), Leighton (Aberdeen), Sullivan (Wimbledon); Boyd (Celtic), Calderwood (Tottenham), Dailly (Derby), Hendry (Blackburn), B McAllister (Wimbledon), T McKinlay (Celtic), McNamara (Celtic), Weir (Hearts), Gemmill (Nottingham Forest), G McAllister (Coventry), Lambert (Borussia Dortmund), Burley (Celtic), Collins (Monaco), Gallacher (Blackburn), Hopkin (Leeds), B McKinlay (Blackburn), Dodds (Aberdeen), Donnelly (Celtic), Durie (Rangers), McCoist (Rangers).

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