GORDON STRACHAN has snubbed Celtic new Bhoys Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven for his Scotland squad for the forthcoming internationals against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.
However, the former Hoops boss has included James Forrest, a scoring substitute in the 2-0 League Cup Final victory over Dundee United yesterday.
It’s a major surprise for the ex-Tannadice double-act who have been in scintillating form since their ¬£2million arrival on the last day of the January transfer window.
They have become mainstays in Ronny Deila’s team and only missed out on their first winners’ medals in the Hoops because they were Cup-tied with United. Similarly, they will be forced to sit out Wednesday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Jackie McNamara’s team.
Forrest, who has started only 10 games, has struggled with injury this season and, ,in fact, his strike against United was only his second goal of the season. He also squandered a penalty-kick five minutes from the end.
Craig Gordon is one of three goalkeepers on duty while Scott Brown is likely to captain the side on both occasions.
Strachan named his 26-man pool for the friendly against the Irish and the Euro qualifier against the minnows of Gibraltar, both of which will take place at Hampden later this month.

There is a first senior call-up for Bournemouth midfielder Matt Ritchie, who has scored 11 goals in 35 appearances for the Championship side. Ritchie qualifies through his Scottish father who is from Edinburgh.

Striker Jordan Rhodes returns to the squad after scoring six goals in his last seven games for Blackburn Rovers.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor is back after recovering from injury while Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds could earn his first cap for the senior side.

SQUAD: Craig Gordon (Celtic), David Marshall (Cardiff), Allan McGregor (Hull); Christophe Berra (Ipswich), Craig Forsyth (Derby), Gordon Greer (Brighton), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Hull), Steven Whittaker (Norwich); Ikechi Anya (Watford), Barry Bannan (Bolton), Scott Brown (Celtic), Darren Fletcher (West Brom), James Forrest (Celtic), Shaun Maloney (Chicago Fire), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), James Morrison (West Brom), Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth); Johnny Russell (Derby); Steven Fletcher (Sunderland); Steven May (Sheffield Wed); Ross McCormack (Fulham); Steven Naismith (Everton) and Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn).

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