Leighton in line for Scotland call-up

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The Independent Online
Doubts over the fitness of Scotland's first-choice goalkeeper, Andy Goram, could mean a recall to the national team for the 38-year-old Jim Leighton against Sweden next month.

Goram has been ruled out of Rangers' last four matches because of a hip injury and he was still unavailable last night when Ajax visited Ibrox in the Champions' League.

If he does not play again this weekend, when Rangers visit Raith in the Premier League, then the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, would have to consider awarding a 75th cap for the Hibernian goalkeeper against the Swedes at Ibrox on 10 November.

"Goram is a big worry for me at the moment but we still have 10 or 11 days until the match," said Brown, who names his squad today.

Goram has made an outstanding start to Scotland's World Cup campaign, recording a clean sheet against Austria in Vienna and then defying Latvia with two first-class saves in a 2-0 victory in Riga.

The 32-year-old also had a fine Euro 96 against the Netherlands, England and Switzerland after displacing Leighton in the final warm-up match against Colombia in Miami.

That stung Leighton so much that during the summer he pondered retiring from international football, but he now looks poised for another recall.

Leighton is expected to return for Hibs against Kilmarnock tomorrow night after missing last Saturday's defeat by Celtic, because of a suspension incurred following the first red-card of his long career.

Brown, as ever, has a series of other injury worries as he prepares to tackle the Swedes, who are under pressure after a home defeat by Austria in their last match.

Duncan Ferguson, Colin Hendry and Stuart McCall are doubtful, while Gordon Durie, Alan McLaren and Paul McStay are out. Ferguson and Hendry are on the way back to fitness, but both have been sidelined for several weeks following surgery.

Brown looks like keeping faith with the three forwards who played against Latvia and Estonia. Billy Dodds, of Aberdeen, Hibs' Darren Jackson and the Bolton striker John McGinlay are all likely to retain squad places at least, while Derby County's former Dundee United player, Christian Dailly, is another who has impressed Brown recently.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Football Association are expecting a full Ibrox on Sunday week. All 50,000 tickets have been sold, even though the match is live on BBC Scotland.

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