‘Old man’ Weir gets call to bol­ster Scots’ de­fence

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

DAVID Weir and Kevin Kyle have been re­called to the Scot­land squad for next month’s must-win World Cup qual­i­fiers with Mace­do­nia and the Nether­lands.

Num­ber one choice goal­keeper Craig Gor­don also re­turns from in­jury. And man­ager Ge­orge Bur­ley has al­ready said Weir and Gor­don will start against Mace­do­nia on Septem­ber 5.

Stephen McManus is in­cluded but is yet to play a game for Celtic this sea­son, while Steven Cald­well and Christophe Berra make it de­spite fit­ness wor­ries.

Ross McCormack, Barry Rob­son and Chris Iwelumo are ruled out with in­juries, while Kevin Thom­son and Garry O’Con­nor have been over­looked.

With Gary Cald­well sus­pended for the clash with Mace­do­nia and the in­jury con­cerns sur­round­ing his brother Steven, McManus and Berra, Bur­ley has called upon the ex­pe­ri­ence of 39-year-old Weir.

The Rangers de­fender won the last of his 63 caps in the 0-0 draw with Nor­way at Ham­p­den last Oc­to­ber, his only ap­pear­ance in this World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.

Weir will be­come the old­est out­field player to rep­re­sent his coun­try since Jimmy McMen­emy in 1920.

“I’ve been in touch with Davie since I’ve been the man­ager; he has played in some of the games and played against Nor­way at Ham­p­den last year,” said Bur­ley.

“But David is turn­ing 40 and it is a big ask for a player of his age to play in­ter­na­tional foot­ball; it is a big jump up from the SPL.

“Davie is a model pro­fes­sional, but you are try­ing to in­tro­duce other play­ers.

“I wouldn’t pick him if I wasn’t go­ing to play him.”

The ab­sence of for­wards Iwelumo and McCormack has paved the way for Kil­marnock’s Kyle to add his con­sid­er­able height to Bur­ley’s at­tack­ing op­tions.

The 28-year-old has not fea­tured for his coun­try since 2004 but has dis­cov­ered a new lease of life at Rugby Park. The for­mer Sun­der­land and Coven­try striker has scored 10 goals in 14 ap­pear­ances for the Ayr­shire side.

“It’s some­thing that I didn’t think would hap­pen,” Kyle told BBC Scot­land.

“Five years ago, my ca­reer ended abruptly be­cause I was in­jured and I never quite forced my way back into the team once I got fit. But if you play week in, week out, and score goals, it can give you a chance.”

Vet­eran… David Weir

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