Football: Shadow midfield for Scots

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The Independent Online
CRAIG BROWN, the Scotland manager, will be forced to field a virtual third-choice midfield in tomorrow's World Cup warm-up friendly against Denmark at Ibrox.

With Gary McAllister, John Collins and David Hopkin already ruled out, the last thing Brown needed was any more absentees from his midfield pack. Yesterday, though, he learned that both Paul Lambert and Craig Burley have withdrawn from his squad.

Lambert suffered an ankle injury in Celtic's 1-0 victory at Aberdeen on Saturday, while his club-mate Burley has a hamstring strain. Brown has also lost two strikers, Kevin Gallacher and Gordon Durie.

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man," a typically phlegmatic Brown said yesterday. "We have players like Stuart McCall, Scot Gemmill and Billy McKinlay to call on, so it's not all gloom.

Brown confirmed that the Celtic striker Darren Jackson will start the match, possibly partnering Scott Booth. The former Aberdeen man is unlikely to play 90 minutes, as his Dutch club side, Utrecht, have an important match on Thursday.

Birmingham City's Nigerian-born striker, Dele Adebola, may have to miss the chance to make his debut for Northern Ireland against Slovakia at Windsor Park tomorrow. He incurred a back injury on Saturday against Nottingham Forest and was unable to fly to Belfast the following day. A decision on his fitness will be made today.

Wimbledon's Kenny Cunningham will captain the Republic of Ireland against the Czech Republic in Olomouc tomorrow. Andy Townsend has retired from international football after five years wearing the armband, while other candidates like Roy Keane and Steve Staunton are injured.

Wales are likely to field two debutants against Jamaica at Ninian Park tomorrow: the 18-year-old Norwich City striker Craig Bellamy and Barnsley's German- born defender, Darren Barnard.