Kazakhstan vs Scotland - Tierney joins fellow Scotland left-back Robertson on the sidelines

Posted Thursday, March 21, 2019 by PA

Kazakhstan vs Scotland - Tierney joins fellow Scotland left-back Robertson on the sidelines

Scotland are short of left-backs for their Euro 2020 qualifier in Kazakhstan after Kieran Tierney was ruled out through injury.

Manager Alex McLeish was already without skipper Andy Robertson following the Liverpool player’s withdrawal due to dental surgery.

Celtic’s Tierney was set to deputise for Robertson, but will now miss Thursday’s match due to an apparent hip problem, the Scottish Football Association has announced.

Tierney played through a niggle during Celtic’s win over Dundee on Sunday.

The 21-year-old sat out training in an indoor arena in Astana on Tuesday, undergoing some work on his own back at the team hotel, but has failed to recover in time.

Robertson missed the team flight to Astana to have treatment on Monday and was told by medical staff that he needs more time for his mouth to settle down.

However, he will be available for Sunday’s second Group I qualifier against San Marino.

McLeish said: “Kieran has been ruled out of this game. We did a medical on him and he had a scan and he can’t be risked at this stage.”

Callum McGregor has been named skipper in the absence of Robertson.

McLeish said: “Over the past few years Callum has shown tremendous ability on the field but also he is a very good ambassador of football on and off the pitch. An unfussy player, nothing seems to bother him.

“He is a great example to the rest of the squad in his professionalism and I believe the players will respond to Callum being the skipper for this one.”

Kazakhstan head coach Michal Bilek is expecting to face a “much better” Scotland side than the one he overcame as Czech Republic boss on a painful night in Prague for the Tartan Army.

Bilek led his country to a 1-0 European Championship qualifying victory in 2010 when opposite number Craig Levein employed a 4-6-0 formation.

Scotland rarely attacked before eventually succumbing to a goal from one of a string of corners.

But Bilek was impressed with the attacking prowess of Alex McLeish’s team during their successful Nations League Group C1 campaign in the autumn, which culminated in winger James Forrest netting five goals in two wins over Albania and Israel.

On his previous meetings with Scotland, Bilek said: “I remember the matches. The first game we won at home 1-0 and away it was a draw. I think Scotland have got better since then.

“The current Scottish team is much better than the previous one because they have a lot of very fast players, especially wingers, and they deliver the ball into the box very quickly.

“All the Scottish players are very fast and their attackers are very dangerous.”

Bilek reported that injuries had robbed him of experienced Astana centre-back Yuriy Logvinenko, who is one cap away from a half-century, and Kairat Almaty midfielder Bauyrzhan Islamkhan, who scored a sensational long-range strike against Aberdeen in the Europa League in 2015.

But he has the bonus of having former AC Milan and Watford midfielder Alexander Merkel available. The former Germany youth international, who moved from Kazakhstan aged six, has only played once for his native country, in 2015.

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