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Friday 20 October 2017

Celtic pair making strong claim for Scotland inclusion

Stuart Armstrong (right) and Gary Mackay-Steven have done their Scotland prospects no harm with the start to their respective careers at Celtic, according to Stuart McCall.

Both players hit the ground running at the Parkhead club following their transfer deadline day move from Dundee United and have already scored two goals apiece.

Midfielder Armstrong, 22, has yet to win his first cap although he has been in previous squads while winger Mackay-Steven, 24, made a substitute appearance against the United States in a friendly at Hampden in November, 2013.

McCall, part of Gordon Strachan's management set-up at Scotland, was at Hampden Park to promote the public ticket sale for the forthcoming International challenge match against Northern Ireland, four days before the Scots resume their European qualifying campaign at home to Gibraltar on March 29 and then a trip to Dublin to take on Ireland in June.

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When asked if Armstrong and Mackay-Steven had given him something to think about in terms of breaking into the national team, the former Scotland midfielder, pointing especially to their performances against Inter Milan in the Europa League last-32 tie, said: "I'm sure they have.

"When we get the likes of Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven playing for Celtic in Europe, and not only playing, playing well and standing out in those games, it benefits them," he said.

"So without a doubt.

"Celtic have a strong squad so for Stuart and Gary to maintain being first team regulars, that will be an important factor as well.

"They both got off to a great start, obviously Gary scoring a terrific goal on Sunday.

"Both are playing with lots of confidence and it is great to see."

While Celtic's victory over Aberdeen took them six points clear of the Dons at the top of the Scottish Premiership and on course for a domestic treble, traditional rivals Rangers, for whom McCall starred in the 1990s, made headlines yet again for off-field reasons.

It was announced, through a statement to the Stock Exchange yesterday that non-executive chairman David Somers had resigned from the club's board of directors.

His departure leaves Rangers with just two board members, chief executive Derek Llambias and finance director Barry Leach - both of whom can expect to be voted out of the club at a general meeting this week.

It appears that the shareholder who called the general meeting, South-Africa based Glasgow-born businessman Dave King, is on the verge of grabbing control of Rangers and he has the backing of the main fans' organisations.

McCall said: "It looks like the supporters are going to get their own way but it is only a small step. I imagine there is still a lot of work to do behind the scenes."

EURO 2016

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