Barry Bannan left out of Scotland squad for Cyprus game

Barry Bannan
Bannan has returned to training with Aston Villa

Scotland boss Craig Levein has left Barry Bannan out of his squad to face Cyprus in a friendly on 11 November.

The midfielder returned to training with Aston Villa on Tuesday after being suspended following his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.

And the Scotland manager hinted that Bannan's absence will not be permanent.

"There are certain situations where it's better just to let it resolve itself. Barry will be back in the group after that," Levein said.

Jordan Rhodes receives his first call-up, with England also rumoured to be interested in the striker.

"That isn't the primary reason for the call-up." explained Levein. "I want to reward him for how he has been playing."

Following the match in Larnaca, Rhodes will join up with the Scotland Under-21 squad for a European Championship qualifier in the Netherlands on 14 November.

The Oldham-born 21-year-old, who qualifies for Scotland through the five-year schooling rule, hit 14 goals in six games before the weekend, five of them in two qualifiers for Billy Stark's Under-21s.

"He's been part of Billy's squad for a long time now, and Scotland have been quick to recognise his abilities and we are very confident that he considers himself one of the group," added Levein.

But in-form Celtic winger James Forrest drops out of the senior squad to fully focus on his role with Stark's side.

"Billy pleaded with me to allow James to be included in the Under-21 squad as part of the strategy in trying to develop players," Levein added.

"I felt it would be good for Billy to have James's abilities on Monday as well."

QPR forward Jamie Mackie returns to the squad having fully recovered from a leg break, along with Norwich defender Russell Martin, while regulars Steven Naismith and Scott Brown are missing through injury.

Mackie's last international appearance was almost a year ago against the Faroe Islands, while Martin earned his only cap against Wales in the Carling Nations Cup in May.

Martin, who made his name as an attacking full-back, has been playing in central defence this season and Levein wants to give the 25-year-old a chance to impress.

Rangers are the only Scottish club represented in Levein's squad, with the majority of players plying their trade in England.

The manager acknowledged that Leeds forward Ross McCormack, joint top-scorer in the Championship, was unlucky to miss out, saying he was sure the former Motherwell player would feature in future.

Dundee United playmaker Danny Swanson is unavailable through injury, while there is no place for defenders Stephen Crainey and Stephen McManus.

Levein also confirmed there had been "no change" in the situation with Wolves striker Steven Fletcher, who has not contacted the manager since asking not to be considered for the squad to face Northern Ireland in February.

Meanwhile, Under-17s coach Ricky Sbragia will join Levein's backroom team in Cyprus after assistant Peter Houston revealed he would miss the trip to concentrate on improving Dundee United.

Scotland last travelled to Cyprus in 1989 when they were 3-2 winners, with Richard Gough and Maurice Johnston on the scoresheet under the stewardship of Andy Roxburgh.

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Allan McGregor (Rangers), David Marshall (Cardiff City), Matt Gilks (Blackpool)

Defenders: Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Christophe Berra (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Gary Caldwell (Wigan Athletic), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Lee Wallace (Rangers), Steven Whittaker (Rangers)

Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Liverpool), Don Cowie (Cardiff City), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United), James McArthur (Wigan Athletic), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Barry Robson (Middlesbrough), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United)

Forwards: David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers), Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion), Jamie Mackie (Queens Park Rangers), Kenny Miller (Cardiff City), Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town)

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