GORDON STRACHAN today welcomed captain Darren Fletcher back to the Scotland squad.
The Manchester United midfielder has not pulled on the Dark Blue for 16 months as he has battled against ulcerative colitis.
But now fully restored to the United first team, the 30-year-old is set to win his 62nd cap when Scotland play Poland in Warsaw on March 5.
There is a first call-up for Dundee United’s 19-year-old full-back, Andrew Robertson who, only a year ago, was still playing for Queen’s Park.
There was also a recall for Phil Bardsley. The Sunderland defender last played for Scotland in the 5-1 defeat by the United States in May 2012.
His Black Cats team-mate Steven Fletcher is another selected by the national coach. But Strachan is fully aware of the striker’s on-going Achilles tendon problem, and his condition will be carefully monitored between now and the squad gathering.
Leeds’ in-form hitman, Ross McCormack is back after pulling out of the friendly win in Norway in November.
Everton’s Steven Naismith is the only other striker listed, which means Kris Boyd’s shock call-up for the last game has not been repeated and Leigh Griffiths is still trying to win his place back following his move to Celtic from Wolves.
Despite missing Celtic’s game last weekend with injury, both Charlie Mulgrew and James Forrest are in the squad.
Strachan explained that he had to call four or five players this morning to explain why they had been omitted, but is delighted to be able to include skipper Fletcher for the first time since he took over as national coach 13 months ago.
He said: “It’s good news for all of us.
“He has lost none of his enthusiasm, and to have someone of his standing back is terrific for us as a group.”
Strachan added: “Darren has had to deal with a few things, but he is a strong character.
“When you have medical problems, doctors do a lot to help you out.
“But there is also the patient themselves, how strong are they? And he is really strong-minded, and it great to have him back.”
Matt Gilks (Blackpool)
David Marshall (Cardiff City)
Allan McGregor (Hull City)
Phil Bardsley (Sunderland)
Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town)
Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers)
Alan Hutton (Aston Villa)
Russell Martin (Norwich City)
Andrew Robertson (Dundee United)
Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)
Charlie Adam (Stoke City)
Ikechi Anya (Watford)
Barry Bannan (Crystal Palace)
Scott Brown (Celtic)
Chris Burke (Birmingham City)
Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)
James Forrest (Celtic)
James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion)
Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic)
Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City)
Steven Fletcher (Sunderland)
Ross McCormack (Leeds United)
Steven Naismith (Everton)