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Page last updated at 23:49 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 00:49 UK

Paul Hartley an injury doubt for Scotland's Euro ties

Aberdeen captain Paul Hartley
Aberdeen captain Hartley scored the opener against Raith Rovers on Wednesday

Aberdeen midfielder Paul Hartley is a major doubt for Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Spain in October.

Hartley, 33, pulled a hamstring in his team's Co-operative Insurance Cup 3-2 win over Raith Rovers on Wednesday and could be out for two or three weeks.

He was recalled to the Scotland squad for the matches against Lithuania and Liechtenstein but was an unused sub.

Scotland face the Czech Republic on 8 October and Spain four days later.

The Aberdeen captain was substituted for Ryan Jack 15 minutes from time in the victory at Pittodrie and will now miss Sunday's Scottish Premier League match with Rangers and the game against Inverness on 2 October.

Prior to his injury, the former Hearts and Celtic playmaker had given the Dons the lead from a 10th-minute penalty, the fifth time he had converted from the spot this season.

Manager Mark McGhee is already missing Fraser Fyvie, Sone Aluko and Peter Pawlett through injury, but insists Hartley, although unable to take part in matches, will nevertheless be of use on the sidelines.

"He has been a big influence and he will continue to be even in the next couple of weeks he's going to be out," said McGhee on Friday.

I'll give it every possible chance and hopefully I'll have a chance of being selected

Paul Hartley on his race to be fit to make the Scotland squad

"If Ryan Jack plays in the middle of the park, Paul Hartley will be standing beside him in the dressing room and he'll be encouraging him.

"The boys reckon he should be back for the Hearts game (on 16 October). I know he'll be disappointed not to play against Rangers but the important thing is that he will only miss two games."

Hartley is cautious about returning too quickly but told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme on Friday that he would do his utmost to be fit enough to be considered by Scotland manager Craig Levein.

"You can never tell with a hamstring. The scan revealed that it might be two to three weeks but I'll just need to take my time with it and see how it goes," he said.

"Hamstrings are funny: you might feel you are OK but as soon as you start running again you start to feel it.

"I'll give it every possible chance and hopefully I'll have a chance of being selected."

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see also
McGhee relieved at Cup recovery
22 Sep 10 |  Aberdeen
Aberdeen 3-2 Raith Rovers
22 Sep 10 |  Scottish Cups
Weir and Hartley back for Scots
24 Aug 10 |  Football

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