Hearts star Webster left out of Scotland squad

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ANDY WEBSTER was omitted from the Scotland squad announced today for the forthcoming friendly with Cyprus despite national coach Craig Levein suggesting he was prepared to recall the Hearts defender.

Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes received his first call-up and Queens Park Rangers’ Jamie Mackie was reinstated after a ten-month injury lay-off. However, Webster was a notable absentee in light of Levein’s recent comments hinting that the 29-year-old was poised to end a 20-month absence from the Scotland squad. Levein is believed to be erring on the side of caution with Webster for now and is waiting to see whether the player can sustain his current fitness levels through the winter. Provided he can prove himself, he will come into the reckoning for international gatherings next spring.

Barry Bannan, the Aston Villa midfielder, has also been left out and will not play for his country during the Midlands club’s inquiry into his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.

Levein though, is excited by Rhodes, who has scored 13 goals in 14 games in League One this season.

Meanwhile, Ian Black will miss Hearts’ next three matches, against St Mirren, Dundee United and Inverness, as a result of his red card for reckless tackling against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

The midfielder was dismissed for a two-footed challenge on Dean Shiels in the 16th-minute of the match, which Hearts lost 1-0. That offence brings a two-game suspension, but because Black was sent off at Fir Park in August he incurs an additional one-game ban.