Stark understands club concerns

  • Last Updated: November 14 2012, 7:56 GMT

Interim Scotland manager Billy Stark will have club managers' fitness concerns in mind during the decision-making process for Wednesday night's friendly in Luxembourg - but not at the expense of victory.

Billy Stark: Understands club managers' views

Celtic manager Neil Lennon criticised the timing of this week's international friendlies after feeling his side put in a jaded performance on Sunday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by St Johnstone four days after beating Barcelona.

Celtic players Charlie Mulgrew and Kris Commons are with Stark's 19-man squad, which is much changed from the original version after nine weekend call-offs.

Stark said of Lennon's comments: "I don't take issue with it, I understand where he is coming from. I think everybody has their own interests at heart and Neil has a heavy programme just now.

"I spoke to him last week and we agreed on Scott Brown and he felt that Charlie and Kris would be available to us.

"He is judging it on a day-to-day basis. We'll give that situation the greatest respect in terms of how we manage the players.

"There is no agreement in terms of game time but I think Neil hopefully along with other managers would trust me to have that in the back of my mind.

"My first concern is that we have 19 players representing their country and we want to produce a good performance and result.

"But as is always the case it's never totally straightforward and I'm well aware of that situation and hope to manage it well."

Stark, who stepped in for the sacked Craig Levein last Monday, found himself defending a fixture he had no part in arranging.

"Managers have their own interests at heart and that's totally understandable," the Scotland Under-21 manager said.

"The fixture has been arranged for a good while now. Whatever the circumstances surrounding the arrangement of the fixture, I'm not exactly sure, but if you look at most countries take the friendlies because you don't get that many opportunities with the players. So to me it's not a negative situation.

"Anything can happen with football but there is no point going into it worrying about this happening or that happening.

"Every game you play is an opportunity to try to improve. That's the way I'm looking at this one and that's probably the way it was looked upon when it was arranged."

The likes of Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths and Inverness midfielder Andrew Shinnie are in line for their debuts with Stark vowing to use his full entitlement.

"We are allowed to use six substitutions and my view at the moment is that we'll be doing," he said.

"We have some players, Darren Fletcher and Steven Naismith, who have been terrific performers for their country in the past, who are a wee bit short of a regular game just now.

"I know they are looking forward to playing for Scotland as they always do and we'll manage the situation with others as best we can."


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