Scotland: Rangers' Lewis Macleod given first squad call

Rangers midfielder Lewis Macleod
Lewis Macleod has been in excellent form for Rangers

Rangers midfielder Lewis Macleod has been called up to the Scotland squad for the first time.

The 20-year-old is in Gordon Strachan's party for the European Championship qualifier against the Republic of Ireland and the England friendly.

Stoke City's Phil Bardsley is recalled with Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton missing out through injury.

Celtic utility man Charlie Mulgrew also returns following injury and suspension.

Scotland's remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
14 November, 2014Republic of Ireland (h)
29 March, 2015Gibraltar (h)
13 June, 2015Republic of Ireland (a)
4 September, 2015Georgia (a)
7 September, 2015Germany (h)
8 October, 2015Poland (h)
11 October, 2015Gibraltar (a)

He takes the place of Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds.

Sheffield Wednesday striker Stevie May is again included, but there is no place for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Ryan Gauld.

Teenager Gauld had been brought into the squad for matches against Georgia and Poland to gain experience.

It is Macleod's turn to be given a chance to show Strachan what he can do alongside the senior players despite playing his club football in Scotland's second tier.

Strachan explained: "It is beneficial for them because they are enthusiastic and add to the squad and I want to find out if they work with the system.

"I get good reports from our coaches up here. I'm looking forward to seeing Lewis and working with him.

"There are some who are bubbling under, but we will keep an eye on that, but Lewis is not just coming along to make up the numbers."

Bardsley has been given the chance to add to his 13 caps and Strachan was relieved to have such a player to replace Hutton.

"We do have players who can come in. They might play a bit differently to Alan," said the Scotland boss. "He's got his own style, which has been great for us - but other people will come in and not try to copy Alan but do what they do well.

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Media conference - Scotland coach Gordon Strachan

"Phil has been unlucky because we have two smashing full-backs in Alan Hutton and Steven Whittaker, so it's handy that we can call on Phil again."

Winger Ikechi Anya is named in the squad despite missing Watford's 3-1 weekend win over Millwall through injury.

Burnley goalkeeper Matt Gilks retains his place as understudy to Cardiff City's David Marshall and Celtic's Craig Gordon having replaced the injured Allan McGregor in the previous squad.

Scotland meet old rivals England at Celtic Park on 18 November, and a win over Ireland four days earlier would help the Scots stay in contention for automatic qualification for France 2016.

They trail the team led by Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane by three points in Group D after three games.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Burnley), Craig Gordon (Celtic), David Marshall (Cardiff City)

Defenders: Phil Bardsley (Stoke City), Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town), Craig Forsyth (Derby County), Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Andrew Robertson (Hull City), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Watford), Barry Bannan (Crystal Palace), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Bryson (Derby County), Chris Burke (Nottingham Forest), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), Lewis Macleod (Rangers), Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic)

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Chris Martin (Derby County), Steven May (Sheffield Wednesday), Steven Naismith (Everton).

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