The 24-year-old McKinlay has scored nine goals for his club this season, and he is finally winning his first cap after a broken leg kept him out of the game for a year.
Brown is not naming his team in advance, but he confirmed that McKinlay and McKinnon will make their debuts, with Colin Hendry returning to collect a third cap. He has been a long-time fan of McKinlay's direct, elegant play and McKinnon's more robust, aggressive style.
Paul McStay was ruled out after a recurrence of a hamstring injury, and his manager at Celtic, Lou Macari, insisted that his captain returned to Scotland immediately.
Kevin Thomas, of Hearts, scored the goal for Scotland's Under-21 side in their 1-0 victory over Malta in Paola yesterday.
SCOTLAND (probable team v Malta, World Cup Group One, Valletta, tonight): Leighton (Hibernian); McLaren (Hearts), Hendry (Blackburn), Irvine (Aberdeen), Boyd (Celtic), McKinlay (Dundee United), McAllister (Leeds), Durrant (Rangers), McKinnon (Motherwell), Nevin (Tranmere), Gallacher (Blackburn).Reuse content