Scotland Under-21 boss Billy Stark has spoken of his regret after Dundee United’s John Souttar had to withdraw from his international squad.
The highly-rated centre-half was set to be handed his debut at this level on his home ground at Tannadice in Wednesday’s friendly with Hungary.
However, an achilles injury has meant that Souttar along with team-mate Ryan Gauld, who has a lower back problem, have had to call off.
Despite the setback, Stark says the pair will be given plenty of other opportunities to show what they can do.
The manager joked: “We bring the game up here and then Gauld and Souttar miss out! They are dropping like flies from this neck of the woods.
“Seriously though, I think ticket sales aren’t too bad which shows the value of taking the game to Dundee as there hasn’t been an Under-21 game here for many a year.
“It is disappointing though as I was looking forward to seeing Souttar in this environment. John is one who was born in 1996 so he can play in the next Under-21 tournament and even the one after that.
“He will get another opportunity though, there is no doubt about that. He has a very impressive physique for a young lad and Jackie (United boss McNamara) tells me he is still growing, which is great news.
“He is a footballing centre-half and I think the way the game is going, they are becoming more and more important with sides trying to build from the back.
“He has great composure. Yes, he has made one or two errors that you would expect young centre-halves to make.
“The great thing for him is that he is playing in the first team where you learn very quickly.
“To be involved at international level is another chance for them to accelerate their development. That’s why it is disappointing he is going to miss out on his home ground.”
Stark also revealed there is a major doubt over St Johnstone’s Stevie May.
Saints have a Scottish Cup quarter-final clash against Raith Rovers at the weekend and it remains to be seen whether the striker will be risked in a friendly.
Stark added: “Stevie May has a tight hamstring so we will have to see how he is. I spoke to (Saints boss) Tommy Wright this morning.
“St Johnstone have a Scottish Cup quarter-final at the weekend so we have to be sensible.
“We have a friendly game so that has an impact on things. We wouldn’t take risks with players. He has been managing it for the last few weeks.”