Adam destined to attain 'bigger and better things'

Scotland manager Craig Levein is confident Charlie Adam will soon be rewarded with a dream move despite failing to seal his departure from Blackpool on Monday night.

The midfielder was targeted by Liverpool but they failed to meet the asking price, before Tottenham Hotspur missed out on his signature minutes before the transfer window shut.

However, Levein has backed Adam to move on to "bigger and better things" and hailed the 25-year-old as a key player for Scotland after naming his squad for the Carling Nations Cup opener against Northern Ireland. He said: "I don't know exactly what the situation is, whether Charlie was desperate to get away or not. I don't know so I don't really want to get involved in talking about what has happened at Blackpool.

"Charlie will go on to bigger and better things, I've no doubt about that. He is playing well for Blackpool. If he continues to progress, and I'm sure he will, then I'm very confident that he will get a big move.

"The most pleasing thing is coming away from Blackpool matches, every time I've watched them play, saying he has been the best player on the pitch. He has made remarkable progress in recent seasons and it's just a delight to have the opportunity to work with him. Some of the passes he plays are just sublime and I see him being a central figure and almost being like our quarterback if you like.

"Charlie has thrived since going to Blackpool because he has had the opportunity to come in at a lower level and gain confidence and, because of that, his confidence has risen dramatically in the last year or so. He had to go there to almost start again, to regain his confidence and kick on from there. I've been delighted with his progress and I think he has been as well."

The Blackburn defender Grant Hanley and Aberdeen striker Chris Maguire earned first call-ups for the match in Dublin this month. Levein has high hopes of Hanley and the Liverpool youngster Danny Wilson, also named in the pool, one day becoming Scotland's top defensive pairing.

The manager said: "Grant is a young lad who has impressed in the short time he's been involved in Premier League matches. I've watched him myself four times and I believe very firmly he has the attributes to be a top-class centre-back.

"When I look at him and young Danny Wilson, this was an opportunity for me to have a look at those two together in a competitive environment, training with the rest of the players. In the years ahead those two could very well form the centre-back pairing for Scotland. When I look at the quality of those young lads, I don't want to put any brakes on them. If they are playing at a level that indicates to me they are capable of playing international football, then their age will be no barrier."

Levein admits the omission of David Goodwillie was a difficult choice, but ultimately the right decision for the rest of the squad. The Dundee United striker, who made his debut against the Faroe Islands in November, has been charged with serious sexual assault.

"It's an awkward situation to be placed in," Levein said. "I firmly believe it was the right thing to do. He has a cloud hanging over his head with the situation he is in just now.

"I feel, as the Scotland manager, I have to look at what's best for the team and I don't believe, with that hanging over him, he's going to be capable of playing to the best of his ability. I thought long and hard about it and I believe I made the right decision.

"When I first took this job, it was about being hard to beat. I really have great belief in these players that we can now be hard to stop.

"This is a really exciting time for Scottish football. This competition is important, I want to win the competition and I want to win the first game," Levein added.