Ryan Jack out of Scotland’s opening World Cup qualifiers with calf injury

Gavin McCafferty, PA
·3-min read

Ryan Jack has withdrawn from the Scotland squad ahead of the opening World Cup qualifiers.

The Rangers midfielder has not played for a month because of a calf problem and pulled out on Monday evening after the squad’s first training session.

There were no other injury concerns ahead of Thursday’s clash against Austria at Hampden.

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Coach Steven Reid said: “We had a small group to train with, got most of the players out on the pitch for a really light session. A few players did a bit extra.”

One player who was happy to do as much as possible was Declan Gallagher.

The centre-back established himself as a regular in the autumn but last started a game for Motherwell on January 27.

The defender was out for several weeks for a hamstring injury but has since struggled to regain his place, spending 90 minutes on the bench on Saturday as his side lost 4-1 against Kilmarnock.

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“Someone told me I hadn’t played in five weeks so in the back of my head I was wondering if I was going to even get a call-up,” he said.

“But I spoke to the manager at the club and manager here and I told them I am fully fit and prepared. Obviously they are testing me as well.

“I have to show out there as much as I can because there’s no games for me to show my fitness.

“Obviously I have been on the bench, I got 25 minutes against Hibs and five minutes against Livingston, but I’m as fit as I will ever be.

Declan Gallagher
Scotland’s Declan Gallagher, right, in action for Scotland (PA)

“The manager works at a high tempo. We had a session today and he will have seen how fit I am. I played a bounce game against Hearts and got 90 minutes under my belt.”

Gallagher faces fresh competition for a place.

“The fact there is more competition is great, it’s great for us as a nation that we’ve got so many good players available,” he said.

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“There’s definitely no resting on our laurels. I know I had a good game the last time but I have to be at it if I want to play because Grant Hanley and Jack Hendry have been called up. Grant is captain of Norwich and they are top of the Championship.

“I am happy with the competition and I will be trying my hardest to get in the starting line-up.”

Scotland will face a full-strength Austria side after Germany eased restrictions on travel to the UK.

David Alaba
David Alaba is with the squad (PA)

The visitors were set to be without 19 players because of requirements to quarantine on return to Germany from Scotland but a decision late on Friday evening ensured Austria will have the likes of Bayern Munich defender David Alaba available.

Gallagher said: “We were always focused on them playing their best team. We were never thinking about them playing a weakened team.

“I think that’s it been sorted and they will have a full strength team so we will be fully focused on that. But we will be focused on ourselves.”