Dundee United's Johnny Russell handed first Scotland call-up

Johnny Russell has played for the Scotland Under-21 side
Johnny Russell has played for the Scotland Under-21 side

Dundee United forward Johnny Russell has earned his first call-up to the Scotland squad.

Shaun Maloney, Craig Bryson, Steven Whittaker, Lee Wallace and Andy Webster have all earned a recall.

They were named in coach Craig Levein's party for the friendly against the United States on Saturday 26 May.

But Jamie Mackie has been left out because his wife is due to give birth, while Graham Dorrans is missing as he has just become a father.

England Under-20 cap Matt Phillips is again in the squad after pulling out ahead of February's 1-0 win over Slovenia through injury and Levein plans to start the match with the Blackpool midfielder.

The Scots have been denied the services of several key midfielders through injury, with Liverpool's Charlie Adam, Celtic's James Forrest, West Brom' James Morrison and Leeds United's Robert Snodgrass all having missed the end of the season with their clubs.

Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton and Blackburn Rovers' Grant Hanley are also injury absentees.

Levein has left out Barry Robson as the midfielder is taking his coaching badge ahead of his switch to Vancouver Whitecaps following his departure from Middlesbrough.

He said that Maloney is "on fire just now" after battling his way into the Wigan starting line-up to spearhead their late revival to avoid relegation from the Premier League in England.

Maloney's last cap was against the Faroe Islands in November 2010.

"It is no coincidence that the upturn in the fortunes of Wigan coincide with him coming back in the team," said Levein.

"Shaun, James McArthur and Gary Caldwell, in the Wigan games I've seen recently, have almost always been their best players.

Under-21 international Russell has impressed this season with 15 goals for United, although the 22-year-old might have to wait a bit longer for his first cap.

"I felt with the season that Johnny has had that he deserves the opportunity this time around," explained Levein.

"It is more for his experience than anything else. It would be unlikely that he would play a part in the match."

As expected, Steven Fletcher is missing from the party once more after the national coach said the Wolves striker would not play again during his tenure as coach.

Levein indicated at the weekend that it was now 15 months since Fletcher texted the Scottish Football Association saying 'tell him I don't want to play" and that he had waited too long for bridges to be rebuilt.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool), Craig Gordon (Sunderland), Allan McGregor (Rangers)

Defenders: Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Steven Whittaker (Rangers), Christophe Berra (Wolves), Gary Caldwell (Wigan Athletic), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Lee Wallace (Rangers), Andy Webster (Hearts)

Midfielders: Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), Scott Brown (Celtic), Craig Bryson (Derby County), Don Cowie (Cardiff City), James McArthur (Wigan Athletic), Matt Phillips (Blackpool), Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic)

Forwards: David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers), Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton), Kenny Miller (Cardiff City), Johnny Russell (Dundee United).

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