Levein clears up confusion

Craig Levein moved to clarify the apparent contradiction regarding Ian Black's inclusion for Scotland's clash with Australia.

Last Updated: 14/08/12 at 21:00

Ian Black: Included in the squad

Ian Black: Included in the squad

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Craig Levein moved to clarify the apparent contradiction surrounding Rangers midfielder Ian Black's inclusion in his squad for Scotland's friendly against Australia at Easter Road on Wednesday night - after he left out Lee Wallace due to the Ibrox club playing Third Division football this season.

The Scotland boss said last week when he announced his squad that it was difficult for him to pick players from the fourth tier of Scottish football.

Eyebrows were subsequently raised when Black, who signed for Rangers this summer after leaving Hearts at the end of last season, was drafted into the squad on Sunday night following the withdrawal of James Forrest, Jamie Mackie, Graham Dorrans and Phil Bardsley.

Levein, who confirmed Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes will make his first start and is hoping to give Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks his debut at some point, explained his decision at the pre-match press conference.

"My quotes are there for everyone to see," he said. "What happened is that some people chose to take half a quote and use that.

"It is fairly straightforward. What I said when I announced the squad is that it will be more difficult for the Rangers players to get into the international team because the standard in the Third Division isn't akin to international football.

"That is what I said and also, that the door wasn't closed on any of the Rangers players.

"We had some problems in midfield. Ian Black would have been with us to America (for the May friendly) if he hadn't been injured, so I brought him in.

"He is not a first choice, he is in as back-up and for me it's a fairly straightforward decision to make.

"We will possibly (see him in action) depending on how the game goes.

"He was Hearts' best player last year, he was also exceptional in the cup final, he would have played at some point in America so yes, you might see him."

Levein looked to draw a line under what he believes to be "perceived negativity" surrounding Black's inclusion.

"Lee Wallace has never been the first choice left-back, Ian Black isn't the first choice midfielder, no disrespect to either of them," he said.

"But as I said, I will pick who I think is first in line then pick my second choice and third choice, that's the way it works.

"What I don't want to do, which seems to happen, is concentrate on one perceived negative story.

"This has been done to death as far as I am concerned.

"We have a lot of positive things happening and I would far rather talk about those than, no disrespect, a player that has been brought in as back-up."

However, Gary Caldwell, who will captain the team tomorrow night, took an opposite view, was at odds with his boss, claiming that players should be picked on their ability.

The Wigan defender said: "All these players were playing in the Premier League two months ago, and they're not Third Division players.

"To tag them that is very disrespectful. They are good players.

"I think each player should be given the respect they deserve."

Levein is looking to make amends for the 5-1 defeat by the USA in Jacksonville at the end of the season, which elicited heavy criticism despite it being only a friendly.

This is the last time the Scotland boss will have his players together before the start of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign which begins next month with a double-header at Hampden against Serbia and Macedonia.

"I discovered very quickly in this job that everybody reads everything into results so yes, of course, the result is important for us," said the former Hearts and Scotland defender.

"Our last result was a poor one so I would like to win the game.

"One of the frustrating things about this job - win or lose - is the time span between games. "We have had to wait a while since America and it will be great to get back on the field and play."

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Fixtures

Wednesday, 25 March 2015
15:00
Germany v Australia  
19:45
Scotland v Rep Ire  
Thursday, 26 March 2015
20:00
France v Brazil  
Friday, 27 March 2015
15:00
Costa Rica v Paraguay  
Japan v Tunisia  
Peru v Chile  
Sunday, 29 March 2015
19:45
France v Denmark  
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
16:00
Austria v Bos&Herz  
Estonia v Iceland  
Italy v England  

Footer 365

Premier League: Nemanja Matic says Chelsea can win quadruple

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic insists the Blues can win the quadruple this season.

Ronald Koeman facing selection crisis ahead of Southampton's match against Everton

Harrison Reed's impressive display against Everton has given Ronald Koeman a selection dilemma.

Scottish Championship: SFA has reject Rangers' request to increase Mike Ashley's shareholding in club

The SFA has turned down a request from Rangers to allow Mike Ashley to increase his shareholding in the club to 29.9 per cent.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property