Scots lose second striker
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Garry O'Connor has joined Lee McCulloch in withdrawing from the Scotland squad.Garry O'Connor has joined fellow forward Lee McCulloch in withdrawing from the Scotland squad to face Italy and Norway.
Walter Smith's men face The Azzurri on Saturday and Scandinavian opponents Norway four days later as they seek to keep their dim World Cup qualification hopes alive.
Wigan striker McCulloch had withdrawn with a knee injury sustained in The Latics' 1-0 defeat of Sunderland, meaning that Dundee United's promising starlet Lee Miller was drafted into the squad.
Smith, who has had to contend with a raft of injuries ever since taking over from Berti Vogts, confirmed in a press conference on Wednesday that McCulloch would be absent for both the crucial clashes.
"Lee McCulloch pulled out the other day, he played for Wigan on Saturday and aggravated a knee injury and will miss the two games," said Smith.
Hibernian star O'Connor could have expected to feature after netting in the recent friendly against Austria, although his burgeoning international aspirations have been put on the back burner after the 22-year-old failed to shrug off a back injury.
Scotland are currently fifth in Group Five although lie just three points behind second-place Norway in the race for a vital play-off spot.