Scotland's target set by Brown

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Craig Brown rounded up the usual suspects for Scotland's Euro 96 task force yesterday when he named 23 players for the matches against the United States and Colombia in America later this month - his final warm-up games before the European Championship.

Then he set them the target of scaling unprecedented heights, by claiming a place in the second stage of a major finals for the first time in eight attempts.

"We have the personnel with the desire and capability to make that a possibility," Brown said. "We've been to six World Cups and the last European finals in Sweden and we have never gone beyond the first stage. Now England is the yardstick for this squad."

There were no surprises in the group unveiled by Brown with recent regulars like John McGinlay, Duncan Shearer and Pat Nevin jettisoned but the Middlesbrough defender Derek Whyte is on stand-by for Rangers' Alan McLaren, who faces a knee operation the day before the tour starts.

The Scotland manager is delighted at the co-operation of Whyte. "Derek has been superb in accepting the situation which means he will go to America yet may not go to Euro 96," he said.

"McLaren will have his operation on 20 May, which is some 20 days before our first match with the Netherlands. Ally McCoist was back in nine days after a similar operation once.

"Once we go to the States it will be a doctor-to-doctor situation between us and Rangers on his availability. But he must be match-fit if he is to face the Netherlands, England and Switzerland."

Brown is hoping the games against America in New Britain on Sunday, 26 May and Colombia in Miami three days later will solve his striking crisis.

"We are hoping to find a partnership and America will be no sentimental journey," he said. "I'm not going over there and promising everyone a game - we'll try and have a settled side if we can.

Seven people were arrested yesterday in connection with crowd disturbances at last Saturday's Second Division game between Brighton and York. Police said the seven, who were identified from video footage of the incidents, were being questioned on suspicion of assault and causing criminal damage.

Steve Foster's benefit match at the Goldstone Ground next Tuesday has been cancelled following talks between Brighton and local police. It is now hoped to stage the game before the start of next season.

Brighton have also had to switch two reserve matches away from the Goldstone this week and move the Sussex Senior Cup final between Crawley and Hastings to Worthing.

Alan Shearer expects to resume light training tomorrow just two weeks after undergoing surgery. The Blackburn striker has made an "excellent recovery" following his operation on a troublesome groin injury on 18 April. It is almost certain that Shearer will be fit to join the England party for a tour of China and Hong Kong prior to the European Championship.

Sunderland's Michael Gray has apologised for his behaviour during last Sunday's promotion victory parade through the city.

Police are investigating complaints from the public that players used foul language on the open-topped bus and balcony of the Seaburn Centre as Sunderland marked their promotion to the Premiership in traditional fashion.

Leicester have been told by a tribunal to pay Sheffield Wednesday pounds 210,000 for the defender Julian Watts, who signed for the First Division club just before this season's transfer deadline.

SCOTLAND SQUAD (Tour to United States, 21-31 May): Booth (Aberdeen), Boyd (Celtic), Burley (Chelsea), Calderwood (Tottenham), Collins (Celtic), Durie (Rangers), Gallacher (Blackburn), Gemmill (Nottingham Forest), Goram (Rangers), Hendry (Blackburn), Jackson (Hibs), Leighton (Hibs), McAllister (Leeds), McCall (Rangers), McCoist (Rangers), McKimmie (Aberdeen), T McKinlay (Celtic), W McKinlay (Blackburn), McLaren (Rangers), McStay (Celtic), Spencer (Chelsea), Walker (Partick), Whyte (Middlesbrough).

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