McGregor handed surprise Scotland chance by McLeish

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The Independent Football

The Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor has admitted that he was shocked at his first Scotland call-up by his former manager, Alex McLeish.

McGregor was the only uncapped player included in a a 30-man squad for a get-together at the Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire next week. The 24-year-old made only eight Scottish Premier League appearances in four-and-a-half years under McLeish when he was Rangers manager.

However, after loan spells at St Johnstone and Dunfermline, McGregor was given his first real chance in the Rangers first team this season by Paul Le Guen before the Frenchman was replaced by Walter Smith last month.

McGregor said: "I just found out yesterday morning about the call-up so I am delighted. Billy Thompson [Rangers' goalkeeping coach] tried to phone me on Monday but couldn't get through so I didn't find out until yesterday.

"I am obviously very pleased even though it did come as a bit of a shock.

"Although I've been in the first team for the past few months there are other keepers that have been doing well, so I didn't really expect it.

"It will be good to meet up with the other guys, but I know some of them from the Under-21 squad and there are also six of us going from Rangers."

McGregor will also have a chance to prove his worth in the Scotland B match against Finland at Kilmarnock next Wednesday.

The Scotland captain, Barry Ferguson, has welcomed the appointment this week of McLeish and is convinced that he will carry on Walter Smith's recent success. "I really enjoyed working with Alex McLeish and I am delighted to be working with him again," Ferguson said.

"We achieved a lot together, and I feel sure he can do a great job for Scotland. He knows the set-up and he knows the players.

"I believe he will be able to continue the good work that Walter Smith did before him."