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Monday, February 20, 2012
Levein selects Phillips and Mulgrew

England Under-20 international Matt Phillips and Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew have been called up for the first time by Craig Levein for Scotland's friendly international in Slovenia next week.

The Scottish Football Association are awaiting clearance from FIFA to select Blackpool winger Phillips, but expect to receive that this week.

Mulgrew's cause was championed by Celtic manager Neil Lennon after he scored during his side's 5-0 win against Hibernian on Sunday.

Phillips, 20, was born in Aylesbury and has represented England at under-19 and under-20 level but has opted to play for Scotland, for whom he qualifies through his grandparents.

Scotland manager Levein said: "I'm very excited about the young lad. Great things are expected of him."

Dead-ball specialist Mulgrew, 25, has scored four goals this season and recently captained Celtic when Scott Brown was injured.

"He has been in good form," Levein said. "I tried to bring him into the squad for the game in Cyprus but he had an injury. He deserves to be in the squad. He has been excellent."

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who returned to reserve team action in January after 11 months out following a knee injury, is back in the squad.

The former Hearts keeper, 29, has not played first-team football since a home defeat to Tottenham in February 12, 2011.

Levein said: "He's an important player for us. He's had a terrible time with injury but he's back playing reserve matches and it's a good time to get him involved."

Celtic winger James Forrest is in the squad, meaning he will not be available for Scotland Under-21s' UEFA qualifier against Holland on the same night, February 29.

But Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes has been left out to give Billy Stark his goalscoring services.

Forrest is one of only four Scottish Premier League players in the 24-man squad, along with team-mates Brown and Mulgrew and Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Meanwhile, Levein revealed "nothing has changed on the Steven Fletcher front''. The Wolves striker has not been selected since opting out of the Carling Nations Cup tie against Northern Ireland, via text message, a year ago.

Squad to face Slovenia on February 29 at Bonifika Stadium: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Craig Gordon (Sunderland), Matt Gilks (Blackpool); Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Christophe Berra (Wolves), Gary Caldwell (Wigan), Grant Hanley (Blackburn), Russell Martin (Norwich); Charlie Adam (Liverpool), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa), Scott Brown (Celtic), Don Cowie (Cardiff), Graham Dorrans (West Brom), James Morrison (West Brom), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds), Barry Robson (Middlesbrough), Matt Phillips (Blackpool); Jamie Mackie (QPR), James Forrest (Celtic), David Goodwillie (Blackburn), Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton), Kenny Miller (Cardiff).

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