The Rangers goalkeeper, Allan McGregor, can use tomorrow's Old Firm Co-operative Insurance Cup final to assume the mantle of Scotland No 1, according to the former Ibrox keeper Peter McCloy.
The Scotland coach, George Burley, who will select his squad for the World Cup qualifying double-header against the Netherlands and Iceland next week, has expressed his concern that Craig Gordon is being kept on the bench at Sunderland. McCloy, who won four League Cup medals in a 351-game career in the 1970s and 80s, believes the Ibrox man could move in to pole position if he turns in a good performance at Hampden.
"It is a difficult one for George because Allan is playing at a high level every week whereas Craig isn't at this moment in time," McCloy said. "Craig hasn't let Scotland down but if Allan is playing well then it will put a lot of onus on George to pick him. If you are playing at the highest level every week then you are going to be the guy who is going to play. Sunday is a day for players to make a name for themselves."
McCloy believes McGregor has recovered his form of last season. "He's playing better now, he's more focused," the former Motherwell keeper said. "He looks more confident and has a better command of the box, something which he didn't have earlier in the season."
The defender Kirk Broadfoot is battling to overcome a foot injury in time for the game, but Nacho Novo has been passed fit, having returned to training earlier this week following more than a month out with an ankle problem.
The Celtic full-back Mark Wilson is pushing for a place in the final after returning to training following a pelvic operation. However, Gordon Strachan has dismissed Barry Robson's chances of making a comeback from a groin problem against Rangers. Willo Flood is cup-tied while Lee Naylor (calf), Shaun Maloney, Paddy McCourt and Koki Mizuno (all hamstring) remain on the sidelines.
Provisional squads: Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Whittaker, Bougherra, Edu, Weir, Papac, Davis, Mendes, McCulloch, Ferguson, Niguez, Lafferty, Miller, Boyd, Novo, Alexander, Beasley, Fleck.
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, O'Dea, McManus, Caldwell, Crosas, Hartley, S Brown, McGeady, Nakamura, McDonald, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Samaras, Loovens, Wilson, M Brown.Reuse content