Sunderland given selection boost as Jon McLaughlin is replaced in Scotland squad

Sunderland given selection boost as Jon McLaughlin is replaced in Scotland squad

Albania v Scotland: Jamie MacDonald replaces Jon McLaughlin in squad

McLaughlin has established himself as Scotlands third choice goalkeeper after a string of impressive performances for the Black Cats this season.

However, his selection posed a problem for Sunderland who were eager not to face another fixture postponement or be without a talismanic performer for a key league game.

MacDonalds impressive displays at club level caught the eye of the national team goalkeeping coach, Stevie Woods, who said back in September that the 32-year-old shot-stopper was on Scotlands radar.

Speaking recently, McLaughlin said it would be important to ensure all parties are comfortable with a decision on his involvement.

MacDonald, previously capped by his country at Under 21 level, has been a near ever-present between the sticks for Killie since Steve Clarke took charge at Rugby Park last October.

“At the end of the day, this [Sunderland] is who pays the wages and this is where your real job is.

“Of course, it is fantastic to be called up for your country, you want to go there and be involved and do what you can.

“If you’re not playing, playing more of a supportive role if you like, and you’re going to be missing key games, then there is a decision to be made there.

“Hes been doing himself proud and we just want to acknowledge on the record that weve been keeping an eye on him. Hes been excellent with Kilmarnock.

“You need to have the conversations and make sure everyone gets the best result. Yourself, your country and the club. We’ll see what happens with that.”

“Hes a model professional. He works well every day in training, good in the group, good in the dressing room, uses his experience well.

Tom Flanagan has been selected for Northern Irelands fixtures against the Republic of Ireland and Austria, meaning that at this stage, he is not likely to be available for the Wycombe visit.

Clarke said: “Its a good reward for Jamie for the level of consistency for Jamie since I came into the club, so Im delighted for him.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald has been called up to the Scotland squad following the withdrawal of Sunderlands Jon McLaughlin.

I was very clear to Alex that in terms of the international set up, and not just becasue Im Scottish, I would never stand in the way of any of our players being involved.

McLaughlin, 31, has been spared international duty as League One Sunderland play Wycombe on the same day Scotland play Albania in Shkoder.

Between us, we agreed that it would be good for Jon to continue to play with us in that fixture, so Im very grateful to Alex for how helpful and understanding he was.

Alex McLeishs side trail Israel in Nations League C, Group 1 going into their final two group fixtures.

I had a good chat with Alex and explained that our game against Wycombe was going ahead, and Jon is obviously third choice in that squad.

Killie manager Steve Clarke said of MacDonald: “Its a good reward for Jamie for the level of consistency since I came into the club, so Im delighted for him.

Thats a challenge for the international managers as well, as theyre selecting their squad on who they would like available.

“Hes a model professional. He works well every day in training, good in the group, good in the dressing room, uses his experience well. So to get called up is a good little boost for Jamie at this stage in his career.

“The main goalkeepers that Scotland have used over the years have always been at a really high level so its always been difficult for other goalkeepers to get a look in.”

The goalkeeper was called up to Alex McLeishs squad for Scotlands upcoming Nations League games against Albania and Israel.

Defenders: Michael Devlin (Aberdeen), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen ODonnell (Kilmarnock), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

However, he will remain on Wearside and be available for the Lads Sky Bet League One clash against Wycombe next Saturday.

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen), Kevin McDonald (Fulham), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Callum Paterson (Cardiff City).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday), Oliver McBurnie (Swansea), Matt Phillips (West Brom), Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City).

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