Football: Teenage striker Burchill wins Scotland call-up

Click to follow
THE CELTIC striker Mark Burchill was yesterday called up for the first time by the Scotland manager, Craig Brown.

Burchill cannot get into the first team at Parkhead because of the form of Mark Viduka and Henrik Larsson, but Brown has decided to take a chance on the 19-year-old after his performances for Scotland's Under-21 side at the beginning of the month.

Brown has named a 25-man squad for the Euro 2000 qualifiers against Bosnia next Tuesday and Lithuania on 9 October. Burchill has been handed his chance as Everton's Don Hutchison is suspended for the first game.

Hutchison's absence causes a problem for Brown up front. He may decide that Kevin Gallacher's experience could be a crucial factor in the game against Bosnia - if Scotland win at Ibrox they will be assured of a play- off spot from Group Nine.

There is no place for Sunderland's Allan Johnston, who is embroiled in a lengthy contract dispute with his club and is lacking match fitness. He appeared against Estonia but Brown indicated afterwards that he was concerned at the winger's stamina. Tom Boyd, a regular at international level, is also out because of a back injury that has curtailed his progress at Celtic. The remainder of the squad is much the same as before with Colin Hendry included even though he is out of favour at Rangers.

The Ipswich Town midfielder Matt Holland has been called up to join the Republic of Ireland squad for their qualifier against Macedonia in Skopje on Saturday week. The 25-year-old takes over from Roy Keane, who has been withdrawn by Manchester United because of a recurring knee injury.

Holland had previously been called up to the squad for the 1-0 defeat by Croatia in Zagreb and then the 3-2 victory over Malta in Valletta earlier this month, but on both occasions he sat on the substitutes' bench.

The Under-21 regulars Adrian Coote and Jeff Whitley have graduated ahead of schedule to Northern Ireland's senior squad for the qualifier against Finland. The pair were expecting to play their final games for the Under- 21 side but instead the Northern Ireland manager, Lawrie McMenemy, has named them in his full squad for the match in Helsinki on Saturday week.

The Norwich striker Coote and the Manchester City midfielder Whitley will be too old for the Under-21s following the end of the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign and McMenemy is keen to give them more senior experience. "We have to move on and that's why I've turned to these two lads," he said. "Jeff Whitley has had an excellent season and he is a regular in Manchester City's first team."

McMenemy is keen to nurture Coote because he is one of Northern Ireland's few striking hopes for the future. He had tried to persuade Ipswich's David Johnson to play for the his side - he qualifies as a British passport holder born outside the United Kingdom - but instead he opted for Wales this week. Steve Lomas and Kevin Horlock are suspended while McMenemy has left out Iain Jenkins and Keith Rowland, who scored in the 1-0 win over Finland a year ago, because they are not playing regular first-team football.