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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 12:00 GMT

Lambert out of play-offs

Paul Lambert is one of Craig Brown's most valued players

An injury sustained in Sunday's Old Firm game has ruled Scotland's Paul Lambert out of the Euro 2000 battle with England.

It robs Scotland of the player coach Craig Brown regards as "the most consistent performer in the country".

Striker Gary McSwegan of Hearts is also rated doubtful with a hamstring problem.

[ image: Craig Brown: Has come off worse than Keegan after the weekend]
Craig Brown: Has come off worse than Keegan after the weekend
But England counterpart Kevin Keegan will be relieved that there is no obvious damage to his squad after a nervous weekend of highly competitive club football.

Lambert suffered a facial injury while giving away a penalty in his club Celtic's 4-2 defeat by Rangers.

The midfielder slid in to tackle Jorg Albertz, but succeeded only in catching the German Rangers player's knee with his head.

A penalty was given with Lambert sprawled on the ground, and there was a delay of three minutes before Albertz converted the spot kick as Lambert went off on a stretcher.

"Paul has suffered concussion which the doctors inform us will keep him out for up to three weeks," said a Celtic spokesman.

"He has also had some minor surgery to some damaged teeth."

Lambert is expected to be out of hospital within the next 24 hours after being detained on Sunday evening for further treatment.

But strict Fifa guidelines on concussion mean that even an improvement in his condition will make no difference to his comeback date.

Holding role decision

Lambert, who gained a European Champions League winners' medal while at Borussia Dortmund, will be badly missed by Brown because of his specialist position.

The Scotland boss sounded genuinely concerned at the Old Firm incident while commentating for BBC Radio 5 Live at Ibrox.

The player's career was transformed by his switch to Germany where he became a high quality holding midfielder, a role he continued after his £1.9m transfer to Celtic.

[ image: Keegan: Will continue smiling if there are no injury reports on Monday]
Keegan: Will continue smiling if there are no injury reports on Monday
Scotland coach Brown must now decide whether to draft in any replacements to his 24-man squad with McSwegan also rated doubtful with a hamstring problem.

Brown appears to face a straight choice of moving back either Rangers' Barry Ferguson or Celtic's Craig Burley into a more defensive berth, a duty both have performed at club level.

The weekend has been a nervous one for Brown and Keegan.

Five other Scottish players took part in Sunday's Old Firm derby, while south of the border the England coach must have cringed as five of his squad started a fiery north London derby.

[ image: Owen came through 80 minutes against Derby]
Owen came through 80 minutes against Derby
The only damage was to his Arsenal defenders' confidence as Spurs won 2-1, and in particular Martin Keown, who was sent off.

Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Everton saw England skipper Alan Shearer face to face with three Scotland squad members.

Meanwhile Saturday saw three of Keegan's Manchester United squad survive a skirmish with a committed Leicester side.

And across the rest of the top flights both sides of the border, players survived, including Michael Owen, who tested his hamstring with 80 minutes against Derby.

In Spain, Steve McManaman, played for an hour of Real Madrid's match with Rayo Vallecano, as he returns from an injury problem.

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In this section

Scotland squad guide

England squad guide

Great border skirmishes

Generals in the firing line

A history of fierce football rivalry

Fans in court over football trouble

Scotland v England

Lambert out of play-offs

Hendry's double jeopardy

Brown cautious over Hendry injury

The limitations of passion-play

England claim the prize

All quiet after Wembley showdown

Timeline: England v Scotland II

Hooligans face up to smart cameras

Cheers and tears for Scotland