Mulgrew back for Scots with Strachan keen on repeat plan
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan is prepared to take a gamble on Glasgow hero Charlie Mulgrew in next month's Euro 2016 qualifier in Dublin.
Mulgrew was outstanding in November as the Scots dented Ireland's hopes of qualification with a deserved win at Celtic Park and has been included in Strachan's 26-man panel despite having played just 45 minutes of football in the past five-and-a-half months.
The versatile midfielder is hugely admired by Strachan who admitted the lessons of the first match inspired his thinking ahead of the June 13 encounter.
"He was a huge asset for us when we played the Republic last time - and I mean huge," he said. "I thought he had a terrific game and just having Charlie in the squad makes us stronger. Not just in midfield but in other positions too."
Strachan has recalled Stoke's Charlie Adam to his squad after more than a year in the wilderness and Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is also back in the fold.
Dundee stopper Scott Bain is called in for the first time in place of back-up 'keeper Allan McGregor who is pencilled in for treatment on a long-standing injury.
Championship strikers Stevie May, Jordan Rhodes and Ross McCormack have been left out.
Scotland will warm up for the Irish date with a friendly against Qatar on June 5 and, similar to O'Neill, Strachan is trying to figure out the best way to prepare individuals whose league seasons finished on May 2.
"This Qatar game will be great for the likes of Charlie Mulgrew and lads like Matt Ritchie whose seasons finished at the start of May," he said. "It is imperative they get games.
"But our training will involve a lot of games. Charlie Mulgrew has been injured for five months but the enthusiasm and adrenaline keeps you going for the first month back and we're hoping that's the case with Charlie."
Elsewhere, Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy has decided against offering new contracts to Stephen Hunt and Noel Hunt but told the out-of-contract brothers that they could yet be part of his plans for next season.
"I've told Stephen and Noel that we won't be offering them anything at the moment," said McCarthy.
"I'm going away on holiday, they are going away and I've told them I want to see what is around. They will be doing the same as well."
Jay Tabb has signed a new deal after the disappointment of play-off defeat to rivals Norwich on Saturday.
Scotland squad(v Qatar and Ireland)
Goalkeepers: Bain (Dundee), Gordon (Celtic): Marshall (Cardiff). Defenders: Berra (Ipswich), Forsyth (Derby), Greer (Brighton), Hutton (Aston Villa), Martin (Norwich), Reynolds (Aberdeen), Robertson (Hull), Whittaker (Norwich City).
Midfielders: Mulgrew (Celtic), Adam (Stoke City), Anya (Watford), Bannan (Crystal Palace), Brown (Celtic), Fletcher (West Brom), Forrest (Celtic), Maloney (Chicago Fire), Morrison (West Brom), McArthur (Crystal Palace), Ritchie (Bournemouth). Forwards: Fletcher (Sunderland), Griffiths (Celtic), Naismith (Everton), Russell (Derby).