Hearts’ Paterson and Hibs’ McGinn in Scotland squad

Hibs' John McGinn, far left, and Hearts' Callum Paterson, far right, are in the squad. Pic: TSPL

Hibs' John McGinn, far left, and Hearts' Callum Paterson, far right, are in the squad. Pic: TSPL

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Hearts defender Callum Paterson and Hibs midfielder John McGinn have been called into the Scotland squad for the friendlies against Italy and France.

Uncapped Paterson was selected by Gordon Strachan last season but never earned any game-time, while McGinn won his first cap in March in the 1-0 friendly victory over Denmark with a man-of-the-match performance.

Scotland play Italy in Malta on Sunday, May 29 in Malta before flying to Metz to face France on Saturday, June 4.

Rangers pair Barrie McKay and Lee Wallace have been named, but there is no place for Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, who scored his 40th goal of the season on Wednesday night.

Strachan said of the Rangers pair: “They’ve had a terrific season. Lee we know all about but I just felt there were quite a few Rangers players who can feel good about themselves this year, but as a partnership they work brilliantly together. It’s as good a partnership as I’ve seen for a long time.

“Both appreciate each other’s contribution and they both know what they’re good at, and they both help each other all through the games. So I think it’s worth the two of them coming together.”

Charlie Mulgrew is the only Celtic player included with Craig Gordon, Scott Brown and Kieran Tierney also dropping out along with Griffiths as Strachan bids to help his former club’s European qualifying campaign.

Strachan said: “The reason the Celtic and Aberdeen players are not there - I’m the Scotland manager. My job is to get the best for Scottish football.

“So I’m picking a squad that’s without Celtic and Aberdeen players. I’m trying to give them as much rest as I can so they can be ready for their European ties.

“It might be a bit of a gamble, I could have done with some of them.”

On Mulgrew, Strachan said: “He will maybe not be a Celtic player when we play the second game. His contract is up. So that’s the reason Charlie is there. But Charlie has had a stop-start season and I don’t think he needs as much of a rest.”

Like Aberdeen, Hearts begin their Europa League campaign on June 30 but Strachan was happy to make an exception for Paterson.

“I spoke to Robbie Neilson and said: ‘This is what I’m doing with Celtic and Aberdeen, do you want to be included in that. I would have had Callum Paterson in the last squad but he was injured, how do you feel about him?’

“He went: ‘No, have him in the squad because it will benefit us’.

“He has also had a six-week break as well with his injury, so that’s the reason Callum is in there. he is a goal threat, he can get forward and cross, he has a good physique about him, and he will get better and better because he is still a young fella.”

Nottingham Forest winger Oliver Burke keeps his place and Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur is recalled after recovering from injury, while Fulham striker Ross McCormack has earned another chance.