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Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Craig Gordon pulls out of Scots squad to face N Ireland

Carling Nations Cup: Scotland v Northern Ireland
Venue: Aviva Stadium Date: Wednesday, 9 February Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport Scotland website, BBC Radio Scotland 810 MW

Scotland and Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon
Gordon was injured while playing for Sunderland against Stoke

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon will miss Scotland's Carling Nations Cup match against Northern Ireland on Wednesday night through injury.

Kenny Miller will be captain and play alongside Steven Naismith up front.

Alan Hutton, Phil Bardsley, Steven Caldwell and Christophe Berra make up the back four.

Charlie Adam, Scott Brown, James Morrison and Kris Commons are in midfield, with Allan McGregor keeping his place in goal.

Gordon withdrew from the squad as he requires treatment to a knee injury picked up during the weekend's 3-2 defeat by Stoke City.

It is a further blow for the 28-year-old, who has made only 15 appearances for his English Premier League club in a season already affected by a broken arm picked up during pre-season training.

The goalkeeper told Sunderland's website: "I was looking forward to playing the Nations Cup and I'm disappointed not to be able to play.

It's a major honour for this game, but I'm sure when Darren's back he'll be the captain again

Kenny Miller

"It would have been a good game to play in. We've got a good squad going there and will be looking for a win."

Miller, who joined Bursaspor from Rangers in January, takes over as captain from injured midfielder Darren Fletcher.

"I'm over the moon," said Miller. "It's a massive honour and a proud, proud moment and it'll be one of the highlights of my career.

"To lead your country out in a game is the dream of any kid when you're starting out in football."

Miller, at 31, is the most senior member of the squad that made the trip to Dublin for the first of three Nations Cup matches.

But, despite never having worn an armband before, Miller does not believe his game will change as a result of the extra responsibility.

"I'm a bit moany and bossy and demanding on the pitch, so it won't change much," he said.

"And we've got a few leaders in the camp. There'll be other people looking to lead the team anyway.

"Even if I wasn't captain, as a regular player, I feel I can lead a team too."

Miller missed out on the opportunity to lead the side on the occasion of his 50th cap and he does not hold much expectation of becoming skipper on a more regular basis.

"Circumstances weren't to be that night against Liechtenstein in September and I'm just happy that at one stage I can lead my country," said Miller.

"I think Darren Fletcher is the captain and, if Gary Caldwell had been fit, he'd have been next in line.

Bursaspor and Scotland striker Kenny Miller
Miller is delighted to be chosen as captain for Wednesday's game

"It's a major honour for this game, but I'm sure when Darren's back he'll be the captain again."

Miller could be given a lone striker role, with Naismith lying deeper in midfield, or could be re-united with his former Rangers team-mate as a strike partnership.

Gordon became the fourth player to withdraw from the Scotland squad, the others being Manchester United midfielder Fletcher, Graham Dorrans of West Brom and Rangers' Lee McCulloch.

It means that in-form pair Charlie Adam, of Blackpool, and Scott Brown, of Celtic, will be in central midfield with West Brom's James Morrison and new Celtic signing Kris Commons on the wings.

With Gary Caldwell missing out through injury, brother and Wigan team-mate Steven Caldwell will partner Wolves' Christophe Berra in central defence.

Wigan's James McArthur and Dundee United's Craig Conway had been drafted in as midfield injury cover but will have to make do with places on the bench at best.

So too will squad newcomers Grant Hanley, the Blackburn Rovers defender, Aberdeen striker Chris Maguire and Leeds United forward Richard Snodgrass.


Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Caldwell, Berra, Bardsley, Adams, Brown, Commons, Morrison, Naismith, Miller.
Substitutes: tbc

Scotland Squad

Goalkeepers: Bell (Kilmarnock) McGregor (Rangers)
Defenders: Bardsley (Sunderland) Berra (Wolves) G Caldwell (Wigan Athletic) S Caldwell (Wigan Athletic) Hanley (Blackburn Rovers) Hutton (Tottenham Hotspur) Danny Wilson (Liverpool) Mark Wilson (Celtic)
Midfielders: Adam (Blackpool) Bannan (Aston Villa) Brown (Celtic) Commons (Celtic) McArthur (Wigan) Morrison (West Brom) Conway (Dundee Utd)
Forwards: Maguire (Aberdeen) Miller (Bursaspor) Naismith (Rangers) Snodgrass (Leeds United)



see also
Levein cautious on fresh call-ups
09 Feb 11 |  Scotland
Levein hopes Scots impressed fans
09 Feb 11 |  Scotland
McCartney retirement blow for NI
08 Feb 11 |  Irish
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales
08 Feb 11 |  Welsh
McCourt expects edgy Scots match
07 Feb 11 |  Scotland
Houston believes future is bright
07 Feb 11 |  Scotland
Hanley nets first Scots call-up
01 Feb 11 |  Scotland


related internet links:
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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
RTE Online Levein names side to face Northern Ireland - 4 hrs ago
Irish Independent Levein finally decides it's Miller's time - 5 hrs ago
Belfast Telegraph Nations Cup: Ince a role model for new Scotland skipper Miller - 8 hrs ago
Telegraph Kenny Miller given his just rewards - 10 hrs ago
STV.tv Brown and Adam in the middle for Scotland - 14 hrs ago


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