ALEX McLeish is set to move Graeme Shinnie to left back in Scotland’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Kazakhstan after Kieran Tierney was ruled out by an injury.

Shinnie has predominantly played in central midfield for Aberdeen, but has extensive experience of defence, and featured there in the national team’s friendly against Mexico last summer.

The loss of Tierney was a blow for McLeish as it came the day after Andy Robertson, his captain, was advised to remain at home and recover from treatment on a mouth abscess.

However, McLeish has every confidence that Shinnie, who has won five caps for his country, can help his side get their Group I campaign off to a positive start with a victory.

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“There’s an obvious option in Graeme,” he said. “He played 90 minutes for us in the Azteca Stadium at left back and also at wing back when we changed formation and did it with great aplomb. He’s a fantastic athlete in the best form of his career this season. He would be the obvious candidate.

“He’s versatile and can play in different positions across the midfield too. As long as I don’t lose a couple of central defenders and have to play him there! Seriously, though, Graeme is a very well respected player and he has been a great asset to this squad.

“We believe we have very good cover and we think a lot of that is down to the fact we played those friendly games (against Peru and Mexico) last year which stood us in good stead.

“We were able to see players in different positions and players that are versatile and can play a number of positions. I have total belief in the players who will replace the guys who are missing. It hasn’t caused me any problems in terms of the way we want to play.”

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McLeish was already without Jordan Archer, Barry Bannan and Charlie Mulgrew, who are all injured, as well as Ryan Fraser and Callum Paterson, who are unable to train and play on artificial surfaces.

The 60-year-old, who has named Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor captain in the absence of Robertson, admitted the loss of Tierney was a setback.

The 21-year-old, who returned from a lengthy lay-off due to a pelvic injury last month, has travelled to Kazakhstan and was keen to be involved.

Both Robertson and Tierney could be involved in Scotland’s second Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino in Serravalle on Sunday.

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“It’s sod’s law,” said McLeish. “Even speaking with Kieran today he thought he would finally get a game at left back ahead of Andy. He’s gutted to be out and we’re gutted to lose two top players.

“When did he realise? He was feeling a little tight after the weekend. You saw television evidence of him stretching once or twice (in the Celtic game against Dundee at Dens Park on Sunday).

“We had to do the right thing and scan him and unfortunately we can’t play him and he will miss this one. I don’t know if he will be ready for the weekend, but we got the news from the medical team this morning and it is what it is. We have to move on and it is out of our control, these are things we can’t control.”

Asked about Liverpool left back Robertson, McLeish said: “He was desperate to come, but travelling with the abcess, getting rid of the poison from his system was too much in terms of draining him and arriving in the best shape. It was a shame to lose him but sometimes it happens and you have to be ready and prepared.”