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Ryan Fraser and Grant Hanley ruled out of Scotland play-off

The England-based duo will play no part in the crucial match against Serbia.

Ryan Fraser and Grant Hanley ruled out of Scotland play-off SNS Group

Ryan Fraser and Grant Hanley have been forced to pull out of the Scotland squad to face Serbia.

National team coach Steven Reid confirmed that the duo will not be able to play a part in Thursday’s crucial Euro 2020 play-off against Serbia.

The loss of Fraser is a particular blow after he had linked with forward Lyndon Dykes in a promising attacking partnership in recent games.

The Newcastle winger scored the only goal of the game as Scotland beat Czech Republic last month.

Norwich City centre-back Hanley, who has 29 caps, had returned to the squad having last played for Scotland against Costa Rica in March 2018.

Reid said: “Ryan and Grant Hanley at the moment are struggling.

“It’s disappointing. Grant has missed a little bit of football and unfortunately is not going to be with us, and Ryan as well.

“He performed really well in the past camp so that is a blow but we have got strength in depth.

“We have obviously bigger numbers than usual in the squad and feel as if we have a squad which is capable of competing well at our strongest in the Serbia game and going into the two Nations League games after.”

It has not yet been confirmed if national team boss Steve Clarke will call up replacements before the squad fly out for Thursday’s match in Belgrade.

Scotland had to deal with coronavirus and injury issues ahead of the play-off semi-final against Israel but came through the test and Reid sees no reason to believe that this challenge will be different.

“What has been pleasing in the last couple of camps is, despite the injuries and the issues with the Covid situation, the lads that stepped up were first class and that’s going to be the same going into all of these games as well,” he said.

“If there was to be an issue, we have players who have stepped in and stepped up to the plate.

“Going into this game, there’s players who have played a lot more games, who are getting up to a bit more match speed.

“We went into the last couple of camps and still had the issue with pre-seasons and getting up to match tempo. But by now the lads have played a lot of games.

“The squad is still strong. I have not been in a squad yet with Grant so he has not been part of it for a little while anyway. It’s still a shame he is missing out but it’s still a squad more than capable of getting a result.

“And the motivation and the prize at the end of it is hopefully going to take us up to another level of performance.”