Scottish Football: McLeish back

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The Independent Online
ALEX McLEISH, Aberdeen's veteran centre-half and club captain, makes his first Premier Division appearance since 11 January against Partick Thistle at Pittodrie today. The 33-year-old, who has started just seven matches in the last 16 months, has recovered from a broken foot and has tested his fitness in three reserve games in the past week, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Willie Miller, once McLeish's sidekick in a defensive partnership with a fearsome reputation at home and abroad, is now the Aberdeen manager. 'It will be good to get him back,' Miller said. 'As skipper he is a key player.' The Dons add midfielder Lee Richardson, a pounds 150,000 signing from Blackburn, to their squad.

Pat Bonner, the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, makes his first appearance in 10 months for Celtic at Falkirk, in place of Gordon Marshall who, according to his manager, Liam Brady, has been a 'a bit inconsistent of late'.

'I'm delighted to get this chance, because I thought it had passed me by,' Bonner said.

Rangers, who lead the Premier Division by one point, welcome back Trevor Steven for second-placed Heart of Midlothian's visit to Ibrox. The England midfielder has completed just one game since his return from Marseille, because of a hamstring problem. Stuart McCall also returns, after tonsilitis.

If the top two draw at Ibrox, Dundee United will join them on 13 points if they beat Dundee at Tannadice Park, in the first Tayside derby for two years. Kevin Ratcliffe, the former Everton captain, has left Dundee after completing a month's contract and is now expected to join Tranmere Rovers.

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