CRAIG LEVEIN today declared Andy Webster ready for a return to competitive international duty as a result of the defender’s regular and consistent performances for Hearts.
Webster is expected to start Scotland’s opening World Cup qualifier against Serbia at Hampden Park this afternoon having last played competitively for his country seven years ago. Two friendly outings against the USA and Australia earlier this year saw Webster reintroduced to the national team and manager Levein is convinced he is now ready to handle the intensity of facing the Serbs. The 30-year-old has been a standout performer at Tynecastle for several months and has convinced the manager that he is back in peak physical condition.
“I wouldn’t have played him if I didn’t think he was ready,” said Levein when asked about Webster. “I said on the record, about a year or 18 months ago, that Andy needed to get himself back playing week in and week out at his club. He’s achieved that and that’s why he’s back in the international side.”
Webster is likely to be partnered by a former Hearts colleague, Christophe Berra, in central defence for Scotland this afternoon. Gary Caldwell has been primed to fill a holding midfield role. Levein also announced the back injury to goalkeeper Allan McGregor should not prevent him from playing in the match.
“We took it a bit easy with him at the start of the week but he’s in good spirits, as he always is. I think he’s happy to be back with his pals and he’s enjoying himself. He’s fit and ready to go.”