Butcher says Scots' friendly worthwhile despite no-shows

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The Independent Football

Scotland's assistant manager Terry Butcher maintains the friendly against Northern Ireland is still a worthwhile exercise despite the squad once again being hit by call-offs.

Paul Hartley, Gary Caldwell, Gavin Rae, Kevin McNaughton and Callum Davidson have all been forced to withdraw from tomorrow's match at Hampden. No-shows are nothing new for manager George Burley, who also saw his previous two squads for friendlies against Croatia and the Czech Republic hit by injury.

He has drafted in David Weir, Graham Alexander and Michael Stewart but once again faces the prospect of being without his strongest possible side for his final preparatory match ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

The visit of the Irish is also unlikely to bear much resemblance to the campaign opener in Macedonia on September 6, either in terms of style of play or conditions, but Butcher believes the friendly is still merited.

"It's a chance to get the boys together and to have a look atindividuals who are coming in as well," he said. "Northern Ireland play a different style of game but it's about getting a winning team on the pitch if we can.

"We want to give the crowd something to cheer about, something to enjoy. We are on our home patch and we want to put on a show and lay some foundations for those two World Cup qualifiers."

Arsenal's midfielder Samir Nasri has been added to France's squad for tomorrow's friendly against Sweden after Marseille's Hatem Ben Arfa pulled out. Nasri, who has scored twice in 12 internationals, marked his Gunners debut on Saturday by scoring the winning goal against West Bromwich Albion.

Captain Michael Ballack has pulled out of Germany's squad for the friendly against Belgium after picking up a foot injury.

The Chelsea midfielder limped out of the 4-0 Premier League win over Portsmouth and rang Germany coach Joachim Low to say he would miss tomorrow's clash in Nuremberg. Ballack is the third midfielder to pull out through injury, following Torsten Frings and Jermaine Jones.