Levein clears up selection confusion

PA Sport
Craig Levein reiterated that he will still consider Rangers players for the national team

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Craig Levein reiterated that he will still consider Rangers players for the national team

Craig Levein moved to clarify the apparent contradiction surrounding Rangers midfielder Ian Black's inclusion in his squad for Scotland's friendly against Australia at Easter Road on Wednesday night - after he left out Lee Wallace due to the Ibrox club playing Third Division football this season.

The Scotland boss said last week when he announced his squad that it was difficult for him to pick players from the fourth tier of Scottish football.

Eyebrows were subsequently raised when Black, who signed for Rangers this summer after leaving Hearts at the end of last season, was drafted into the squad on Sunday night following the withdrawal of James Forrest, Jamie Mackie, Graham Dorrans and Phil Bardsley.

Levein, who confirmed Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes will make his first start and is hoping to give Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks his debut at some point, explained his decision at the pre-match press conference.

"My quotes are there for everyone to see," he said. "What happened is that some people chose to take half a quote and use that.

"It is fairly straightforward. What I said when I announced the squad is that it will be more difficult for the Rangers players to get into the international team because the standard in the Third Division isn't akin to international football.

"That is what I said and also, that the door wasn't closed on any of the Rangers players.

"We had some problems in midfield. Ian Black would have been with us to America (for the May friendly) if he hadn't been injured, so I brought him in. He is not a first choice, he is in as back-up and for me it's a fairly straightforward decision to make."

Gary Caldwell, who will captain the team, took an opposite view, claiming that players should be picked on their ability.

The Wigan defender said: "All these players were playing in the Premier League two months ago, and they're not Third Division players. To tag them that is very disrespectful. They are good players. I think each player should be given the respect they deserve."

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