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Scotland call offs 'genuine injuries' says assistant boss

Alex Dyer said all players who have dropped out ahead of the double-header have 'genuine injuries'.

Alex Dyer
SNS Group

Scotland assistant manager Alex Dyer says all off the players to drop out of the squad have done so with 'genuine injuries'.

Steve Clarke's number two also stressed the importance of their final two European Championship qualifiers after Andy Robertson was among three fresh withdrawals.

The skipper pulled out along with Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser and Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay.

Leeds skipper Liam Cooper withdrew from the squad on Monday with a slight tear in his groin, with Celtic winger Lewis Morgan and Graeme Shinnie of Derby called up.

When asked about Fraser's withdrawal Dyer said: "He is genuinely injured, like all the ones who have pulled out this time round they are genuinely injured.

"It's not like they wanted to be pulled out or didn't want to come, they are genuinely injured."

Robertson played a key role as Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-1 on Sunday while Fraser played 90 minutes as Bournemouth lost 2-1 at Newcastle on Saturday.

And with Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney already absent at the request of his club as he works his way back from long-term pelvic and groin problems, Celtic's Greg Taylor looks set to feature at left-back despite only playing one game in the past three months.

Midfielder Shinnie can also play there although he had a torrid time at his old position when Scotland lost 3-0 against Kazakhstan in their opening qualifier.

That result left Scotland up against it in the group and they never recovered with a top-two finish beyond them ahead of their final two matches in Cyprus on Saturday and at home to Kazakhstan next Tuesday.

But Dyer has his sights set on moving up to third in Group I while building some momentum and confidence ahead of the play-offs in March.

He said: "It is definitely not a dead rubber. You are representing your country which is the main thing.

"No matter who you play you are representing your country and you should be proud.

"Andy is an outstanding full-back, one of the best in Europe if not the world.

"So he is a good captain so you will miss him but you have other players in the squad who need to step up and will step up and do a good job.

"We just have to concentrate on the ones who are here. It is part of football. "We put a squad together. There is still another round of fixtures and we know we will get some withdrawals, that's the way it is. We just have to adapt."

Dyer insists the prospect of glory with Scotland is a key driver for him despite another failed group campaign coming to a close.

The Scots have not been at the finals of a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France and sit in fourth place in Group I with nine points from eight games, but Nations League success last autumn has given them a lifeline via the play-offs.

Assistant coach Dyer, who came in with boss Steve Clarke in March, said: "I knew it would be tough just for the history of the country, not being at finals for 20 years.

"We know what the job is all about. It is a pressure you put on yourself because you want to be part of something special.

"We take the job on because of that little bit of glory that you can get, that feel-good factor, the players, the supporters and the country wants, they want to get to a tournament and we want to be part of it, we want to be that group that does it. That's why you are here."

"I grabbed this job with both hands and you want glory. You want to go away thinking, 'look what I've done, I've been part of this'."

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