Football: McAllister shows his gratitude to Brown

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The Independent Online
THE COVENTRY midfielder, Gary McAllister, has thanked the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, for raising his spirits during a miserable injury- troubled period when his international future appeared in doubt.

A knee injury threatened his career, but with Brown's backing, McAllister is ready to return to the Scotland fold later this month for the Euro 2000 qualifying double-header with Bosnia at Ibrox on 27 March and the Czech Republic at Parkhead on 31 March.

McAllister was a non-playing member of the World Cup party last summer because of his injury. However, it was the invitation by Brown to base himself with the players in Provence which boosted McAllister during his long recovery period.

In Glasgow yesterday to launch a sponsorship deal, McAllister outlined his gratitude to Brown for staying with him.

"It was a low period and to keep that involvement with Scotland kept my chin up because there is nothing worse than training on your own.

"Being able to train with the squad helped me the four to five weeks I was with them and I'm grateful to Craig for giving me that chance. As soon as the injury happened Craig came up with the idea of me travelling to France with the others.

"All I can say about my own form is that I've come back and have had no problems with my knee in the first half-dozen games. The last game I played for Scotland was against France in St-Etienne which is a long time ago. I've missed it," he said.

One matter that McAllister admits remains unresolved is whether he will be back as captain, with Colin Hendry having taken over the role during France 98.

"The captaincy is an issue I don't really want to get dragged into. It's a fantastic honour, but I have always felt when I have been captain there have been three or four captains on the pitch," McAllister said.

McAllister accepts Scotland's main concern in their bid to make Euro 2000 will be scoring the goals required with injuries to Gordon Durie and Kevin Gallacher prompting him to suggest his own alternative.

He feels Everton striker Don Hutchison, who qualifies through Scottish antecedents, should be considered. "Hutchison has been excellent for Everton recently in a forward role. He was the difference between Coventry and Everton in the Cup tie when they beat us. He has got to be somebody for us."