New Scotland boss Clarke calls up Killie quartet
Steve Clarke has named four Kilmarnock players in his first Scotland squad.
The former Rugby Park manager has called up full-backs Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor, centre-back Stuart Findlay and striker Eamonn Brophy.
Both Taylor and Brophy have won their first call-ups ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Cyprus at Hampden on June 8 and Belgium in Brussels three days later.
Clarke said: “People will look at it and probably think, ‘he’s just picking players from Kilmarnock for the sake of it’. It’s not true. All the boys deserve to be there.
“Stephen O’Donnell is an established player at right-back, seven caps. Stuart Findlay was in the last squad that Alex (McLeish) picked, Stuart has had a great season.
“We have one or two injury problems in the left-back position, Andy Robertson has still to get through the Champions League final, Kieran Tierney is out, Barry Douglas, who I spoke to, is also injured.
“So it was just a case of promoting Greg up from the very good performances he has had for Scotland Under-21s. He had a terrific season, probably the most consistent left-back in the SPL, so he deserves his chance.
“Up front I have a lot of injury problems and Eamonn Brophy was an obvious choice for me.”
With Leigh Griffiths still unavailable, Steven Naismith and Oli McBurnie missing through injury and Steven Fletcher still absent, Brophy will challenge Marc McNulty, Johnny Russell and Oliver Burke for a place up front.
Hull goalkeeper David Marshall and Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney have been recalled.
There are no places for Steven Fletcher, Matt Ritchie or Robert Snodgrass, who had been missing from recent squads whilst managing fitness issues.
Clarke – who named a 27-man squad – revealed he had held positive conversations with a number of players who are not in the squad but not all could change their plans at short notice.
Winger Lewis Morgan, who finished the season on loan at Sunderland from Celtic, is included, as is uncapped Aberdeen defender Michael Devlin.
Clarke also confirmed his backroom staff would include his former Kilmarnock assistant Alex Dyer, who remains on the staff at Rugby Park.
Former Republic of Ireland international Steven Reid will also join the staff and Celtic goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods will continue in the role he filled under McLeish.