Bannan grateful for Levein support

PA Sport
Barry Bannan

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Barry Bannan

Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan thanked Scotland manager Craig Levein for his support over his drink-drive conviction ahead of Wednesday's friendly in Slovenia.

The 21-year-old was handed an 18-month driving ban and fined £4,500 in November after admitting a string of driving offences following a crash on the M1 in October. Bannan missed the trip to Cyprus last November, but has now returned to the Scotland squad.

"If I get on the pitch in Slovenia I've got to repay Craig Levein," Bannan said in The Scottish Sun. "It's good to be back. Because of what happened in November, I couldn't be involved in the squad. But Craig Levein has shown great faith in me as I haven't played a lot for Villa since the last Scotland squad."

He added: "The way he's handled everything has been great. He could easily have just named the squad for the Cyprus game without telling me why.

"I had great respect for the gaffer even before this happened - but that was enhanced when he explained to me why I wasn't going to be involved.

"He made it clear at the time I had been left out for that reason only.

"He showed what a good manager he is by ringing me and talking to me about what had happened and trying to help me.

"What I did was stupid - there's no other word to describe it. I regret it so much, but it's happened and I can't go back and change it.

"I just have to make sure it never happens again."

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