Boosts for Beattie and Hartson

Stephen Sullivan


Craig Beattie could win his first full Scotland cap this evening after both he and David Marshall were rewarded for their roles in last night’s 3-1 under-21 victory in Austria with call-ups to Walter Smith’s senior squad.

The win, Rainer Bonhof’s side’s first since November 2003, saw Marshall back to his agile best in goal, keeping the hosts at bay with some excellent saves, while Beattie provided some much-needed punch up front with two well-taken goals that left the young Scots breathing a collective sigh of relief.

"I'm delighted the boys have got the monkey off our backs,” Beattie said afterwards. “It had been 14 games but we have done it at last."

John Hartson, meanwhile, is reported to be in line to captain his country for the first time this evening, an honour that will be particularly special for the big Celtic striker as it’s in his home town of Swansea that he’ll out lead Wales against Slovenia.

The news is not so good, however, for Aiden McGeady, who has been told by Ireland boss Brian Kerr that he must beef up and regain his place in the Celtic team before he can look to add to the three senior caps he already has to his name.

"Aiden has great ability and is a fantastic dribbler, but he needs to get stronger," said Kerr.

"We could try to accommodate him but, contrary to what the perception is around Europe, we are not a very physical team.

"It is more important for him to get himself back into the Celtic team then maybe gain more international experience while he is still eligible for the under-21 squad.”