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Hanley and Naismith return as Clarke names Scotland squad

Steve Clarke has made his selection for the games against Russia and Belgium.

Steven Naismith is back in the Scotland set-up.
Steven Naismith is back in the Scotland set-up. SNS Group

Steve Clarke has made a number of changes to his Scotland squad for the games against Russia and Belgium with Grant Hanley and Steven Naismith among the players returning.

Injuries to several players have shaped Clarke's thinking as he makes his preparations for the two Euro 2020 qualifiers at Hampden next month. And the manager has made several other changes from the group he selected for games against Cyprus and Belgium in June.

Scott Bain's injury has opened up a goalkeeping place that has been filled by Portsmouth's Craig MacGillivray, who has been called up for the first time. Wigan's David Marshall and Sunderland's Jon McLaughlin are the other two goalkeepers in the squad, with the former likely to start against Russia.

In defence Norwich centre-back Hanley earns a recall along with Leeds United's Liam Cooper, joining Andy Robertson, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O'Donnell, Liam Palmer and Greg Taylor in the squad. Scott McKenna, John Souttar and Michael Devlin are all struggling with injury.

A competitive midfield sees Ryan Jack and Robert Snodgrass returning to the international set-up to vie for a place in the team with Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie, John McGinn, Callum McGregor, Kenny McLean and Scott McTominay.

James Forrest, Ryan Fraser, Oli McBurnie, Matt Phillips and Johnny Russell have been selected along with Naismith in attack. 

Scotland have already earned a place in the play-offs for Euro 2020 but are hoping to secure direct qualification through their group.

After a humiliating loss to Kazakhstan in their opening qualifier, the Scots recorded an unimpressive win over San Marino.

But the three points weren't enough for Alex McLeish to keep his job. Following McLeish's sacking, new boss Steve Clarke started his reign with a victory against Cyprus, thanks to Oliver Burke's last gasp winner.

A 3-0 to defeat to Belgium followed and Clarke will now aim to boost the nation's hopes against the top two seeds in the group.

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