Mackie forces way back into the Scotland squad

 

The Scotland manager, Craig Levein, has recalled Russell Martin and Jamie Mackie for this month's friendly against Cyprus. Mackie's last appearance for the Scots was almost a year ago against the Faroe Islands, while Martin earned his only cap against Wales in the Carling Nations Cup in May.

Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes earned his first call-up for the game on 11 November, but Barry Bannan was dropped following his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.

Celtic winger James Forrest has been left out of the squad but only to play for Scotland Under-21s in their European qualifier in Netherlands on 14 November. Levein confirmed Rhodes would join up with the Under-21s after the Cyprus trip.

Steven Naismith and Danny Swanson are unavailable through injury while Stephen Crainey misses out after withdrawing from the squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Spain through injury.

Two players who won late call-ups to that squad, Lee Wallace and James McArthur, both retain their place but Middlesbrough defender Stephen McManus has lost his.

There is still no place for in-form Leeds striker Ross McCormack while stand-in Celtic captain Charlie Mulgrew has not forced his way in.

Oldham-born Rhodes, who qualifies for Scotland through the five-year schooling rule, is in the squad after hitting 14 goals in six games before the weekend, five of them in two qualifiers for Billy Stark's Scotland Under-21s.

Such form reportedly attracted interest from England, but Levein insists that was not pivotal in his inclusion. "That isn't the primary concern," Levein said. "I want to reward him for how he has been playing. He has been part of Billy's squad for quite a while. Scotland have been quick to recognise his abilities. I'm very confident he considers himself part of the group."

Mackie has recently returned for Queen's Park Rangers from a broken leg and Levein was eager to get him back involved.

"I'm a big fan of Jamie Mackie," he said. "The Tartan Army haven't had the opportunity to see as much of him as I have.

"He has had to battle very hard to get back from a very serious injury. In the minutes he has played since he has come back, he has been excellent.

"He made a big improvement in the QPR team when he came on at half-time against Tottenham on Sunday."

Martin was last involved with Scotland as a right-back, making his only appearance to date off the bench in the Carling Nations Cup win over Wales in May.

But he has recently been playing in central defence during Norwich's excellent start to life in the Premier League. "Russell has been included in the squad before but I'd like to get to know him a little bit better and see him working in training," Levein said.

"He is playing week in, week out in the Premiership at centre-back and doing a very good job so I think he deserves an opportunity.

"I do feel one of the areas I have to get some consistency is along the back line, so there is every chance I will have the same back four starting the match, but I will look to give Russell game time for sure."

Bannan was excluded following his suspension by Aston Villa after he was arrested following a motorway crash, although the Midlands club confirmed the midfielder had returned to training moments after Levein spoke at a media conference yesterday morning.

Levein said: "As the national team manager you are representing your country and I feel that there are certain situations where it's better just to let it resolve itself and Barry will be back in the group after that."

Levein also confirmed there had been "no change" in the situation with Wolves striker Steven Fletcher, who has not contacted the manager since asking not to be considered for the squad to face Northern Ireland in February.

Meanwhile, Under-17s coach Ricky Sbragia will join Levein's backroom team in Cyprus after assistant Peter Houston revealed he would miss the trip to concentrate on turning round Dundee United.

The Wales Under-21 manager, Brian Flynn, has named five Swansea players in his 18-man squad for the 2013 European Championship Group Three qualifier against Armenia in Yerevan in two weeks' time. Captain Jazz Richards, who last week signed a new contract at the Liberty Stadium, is joined by Swansea team-mates Daniel Alfei, Joe Walsh, Lee Lucas and David Cornell, who is on loan at Hereford. Wales are fourth in the standings following a 1-0 home defeat to group leaders Czech Republic last time out.

While Flynn's men have played a game more than the Czechs and Armenia, they are just one point off the top of the group and a win at the Hanrapetakan Stadium would put them back in contention for a place in the finals.

Flynn has also included Colchester defender Tom Bender on his standby list following the 18-year-old's recovery from the severe concussion he suffered while playing for Accrington against Tranmere in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last month.

Crystal Palace's Jonathan Williams, 18, is included in the Under-21 squad after being called into the senior squad as injury cover for the games against Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape