Scotland manager Alex McLeish is ready to look Tom Cairney in the eye in order to gauge whether the Fulham player is committed to Scotland, after admitting the national side are vulnerable over any approach made to him by England.
Cairney was yesterday left out of the Scotland squad to face Israel and Portugal, with his club making him unavailable for selection as he continues his recovery from injury.
The Nottingham-born midfielder has two caps for Scotland to his name, but as they came in friendlies, he isn’t yet tied down to playing for the country of his father’s birth.
England manager Gareth Southgate has been reported as having an interest in persuading Cairney to switch allegiance to the Three Lions, and McLeish – as he did with Manchester United star Scott McTominay – wants to make sure that the 27-year-old is committed to the Scotland cause.
“Tom Cairney is not there because we had dialogue with Fulham at the beginning of the week and we were told he was not able to make it,” McLeish said.
“[In regards to] the England thing, I guess we are vulnerable in that situation but I didn’t see any indication Tom had a hankering to play for England.
“I guess you would want people to be totally committed to the cause and I think Tom Cairney is.
“I looked Scott McTominay in the eye and asked if he was committed to us. I would do the same with Tom if it came to it.”