Albania v Scotland: Alex McLeish confident of right-back solution

Scotland's Callum Paterson and Kieran Tierney
Callum Paterson, left, and Kieran Tierney are two options at right-back in Albania
Nations League League C, Group 1: Albania v Scotland
Venue: Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland head coach Alex McLeish is "confident" with his plan to cope with the lack of a natural right-back in his squad against Albania in Shkoder.

Kilmarnock's Stephen O'Donnell and Ryan Jack of Rangers - who can both play the role - are among eight players to have withdrawn from the Nations League game.

McLeish was speaking ahead of the withdrawal of Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, who has played on the right.

"We have the players to cope, but we'll keep that close to our chest," he said.

Callum Paterson has played right-back for Hearts but has been in scoring form in a forward role for Premier League side Cardiff City.

He could, therefore, be pressed into service in attack for Scotland in the absence of Hearts' on-loan Norwich City man Steven Naismith and Celtic's Leigh Griffiths.

"There's no doubting Callum's versatile and has a chance in different positions," McLeish said. "His form's been great for Cardiff and, wherever Neil Warnock's used him, he's been effective for them."

McLeish suggested that, when he tried Paterson in a forward role against Mexico in the summer, his players had "kept throwing in short crosses instead of hanging them up for him".

"When he's playing for Cardiff, he's playing to a particular strength," he stressed.

McLeish looks 'far and beyond' for Scotland talent

McLeish will also have to rethink his central midfield, with Aston Villa's John McGinn having joined Fulham's Kevin McDonald in withdrawing from the squad.

Callum McGregor has been used in a deeper role in recent games for Celtic in the absence of former Scotland captain Scott Brown and McLeish thinks he could do the same for the national team.

"He's the type of player that can play anywhere in the midfield - wide or in the central areas," he said. "It's not gone unnoticed where he's been playing."

McLeish's side head to Albania looking to recover from a loss to Israel - and a friendly defeat by Portugal - that leaves Scotland and Saturday's hosts three points behind group leaders Israel, who travel to Hampden for Tuesday's final game.

The head coach said he had thrown the floor open to the players at a squad meeting to suggest ways of improving the side.

"They're young guys, they don't have all the answers - I'm 59 and I still don't have all the answers," McLeish said. "But we try and learn and keep all that information inside your head going forward and use that experience as best we can.

"We have two really big games ahead of us. I know that we can do it if we play to our best performance level."

My Scotland team to face Albania


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