Scotland assistant manager Peter Grant has warned deserters of the national team they will be very fortunate to don the blue jersey again.
Grant and Alex McLeish face further injury troubles ahead of the trip to Albania at the weekend, with former Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Jack out with a knee injury and Mikey Devlin rated 50-50 after picking up a knock in training.
It hampers a Scotland squad already without Robert Snodgrass, Leigh Griffiths, Steven Naismith, Craig Gordon, John Souttar, Tom Cairney, Charlie Mulgrew and John McLaughlin, through injuries and withdrawals.
Grant made it clear yesterday that any player electing not to play for Scotland through personal choice would be very lucky to ever be considered for the national side again.
Grant said: “I think that’s what you have seen. You will have noticed that with some of the selections we have had. That’s what has happened. There was no doubt about that. Myself, Alex and James see a situation where the ultimate for us was to get picked for the national team. If you don’t want to play, no problem. We’re not going to force you, we’re not going to fight and ask you. If you don’t want to play for your national team, that’s it. You will be very, very fortunate if you get selected again.
“In the old days you would report for international duty on the Sunday, play on the Wednesday and that was you. Now, though, you are here for two games in quick succession. It turns very quickly.
“If you don’t want to play through injuries, that’s completely different. But if it’s down to the fact that you don’t want to play, I don’t think you will be back in. You know proud Alex was to get the caps he did. He still hasn’t retired yet.”
Devlin was to be assessed last night ahead of the squad flying out to Albania on Friday. He is one of four Dons players in the Scotland squad, alongside Scott McKenna, Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven.
Despite the increasing number of absentees and withdrawals, Grant insists representing your country should still be considered the pinnacle of a career.
He added: “You had a dream to play for the club you supported. And hopefully if you do well for them, you can play for your national team. That will never ever change. I don’t care how much money you’ve got: that’s the ultimate, representing your country at any level. If you can do that, it means you’re doing well at your day job. That should never change.
“For me, that was the ultimate. Celtic, as a player, was my dream but the ultimate for me was to play for the national team. Unfortunately, I never got that opportunity many times. I didn’t deserve it. But I would love to have been in that hall of fame with something like 100 caps alongside the greats. I would have loved three or four caps, never mind 100.”
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