Lambert progress cheers Brown

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The Independent Online

Craig Brown, the Scotland coach, is confident that he will have the Celtic midfielder, Paul Lambert, in his side for their opening Word Cup qualifier in Latvia on Saturday.

Craig Brown, the Scotland coach, is confident that he will have the Celtic midfielder, Paul Lambert, in his side for their opening Word Cup qualifier in Latvia on Saturday.

Lambert was substituted because of a groin injury in Sunday's 6-2 league win over Rangers and rated himself "doubtful" for the game at the Daugava Stadium in Riga. But Brown allowed Lambert to remain at Parkhead for specialist treatment and he is making good progress.

Lambert will join the rest of the Scotland squad today but the signs are encouraging for Brown. "Paul Lambert is coming here tomorrow morning. He is staying at Celtic today to get exclusive treatment," Brown said. "It was suggested by me when I spoke to the Celtic doctor after the game. He is very friendly with our doctor and it was felt that he could get club treatment exclusively yesterday and today.

"Hopefully tomorrow he will come in good shape and he was cautiously optimistic himself and he thinks that he will make it."

However, Brown is resigning himself to being without the Newcastle striker, Kevin Gallacher, and Craig Burley, the Derby County midfielder. Both have been affected by injury since the start of the new season and Brown will assess the pair today before making a decision.

If they are not deemed to be fit enough Brown may bring in the Celtic striker, Mark Burchill, from the Under-21 squad, but he stressed that this would probably not be necessary. "Gallacher and Burley are doubtful and I suspect we won't get either of them," Brown said.

"If we lost them we would be down to 21 players so we would not need to call in anyone, but we have got Mark Burchill there. He is a very good cover player so he would be the first call-up if required."

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