Levein clears up confusion

Scotland boss clarifies decision to include Black

Craig Levein: Has cleared up confusion surrounding squad selection

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Craig Levein has moved to clear up the apparent contradiction surrounding his decision to include Rangers midfielder Ian Black in his Scotland squad.

The manager has named Black in his party for Wednesday night's friendly against Australia at Easter Road despite leaving out Lee Wallace due to the Ibrox club playing Third Division football this season.

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

Decision

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.

Negative

"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."