Aberdeen-raised midfielder Stuart Armstrong is out of Scotland’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final with Israel tomorrow night after returning a positive test for coronavirus.
The Southampton player tested negative in an SFA test on Monday, but has since tested positive in a second UEFA test.
Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney and Celtic’s Ryan Christie are also out of what is the Dark Blues’ biggest game in close to two decades due to coming into close contact with Armstrong.
The huge blow has been further compounded by the news defenders Liam Palmer and Scott McKenna, and attacker Oliver Burke have been forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.
An SFA statement said: “The Scottish FA has been informed that Stuart Armstrong has returned a positive test for Covid-19.
“The midfielder returned a negative test for Covid-19 on arrival at Oriam on Monday, but the supplementary UEFA test returned a positive result this morning.
“Stuart will self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the test – Tuesday, 6 October – and will now be unavailable for the forthcoming international matches.
“All other members of the squad have returned negative results. However, the Lothian Health Protection Team have identified two players and two members of the backroom staff as close contacts. As a consequence, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie – along with one physiotherapist and one masseur – will require to self-isolate for 14 days as of yesterday, and will also miss the forthcoming matches.
“The Scotland National Team Chief Medical Consultant, Dr John MacLean, has been in constant dialogue with the Scottish Government’s Clinical Adviser on Covid & Sports throughout.
“Steve Clarke, Scotland National Team head coach, said: “While this is obviously disappointing news the most important thing is the health and safety of the individuals involved and the wider group.
“As soon as we were informed of the positive test, the Chief Medical Consultant immediately contacted the Scottish Government’s clinical adviser, who in turn alerted the local Health Protection Team.
“We have informed the respective clubs from whom we have borrowed the players and backroom staff and we now have to prepare for a huge match ahead tomorrow.”
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “We were made aware of the positive test this morning and I reiterate Steve’s view that the health and safety of those involved is paramount. We will maintain constant dialogue with Dr John MacLean to ensure that those who are required to self-isolate are given the full support of the Scottish FA in conjunction with their clubs and employers.
“Equally, the protocols and procedures in place are designed to ensure that the remaining members of the squad – who have all returned two rounds of negative tests – can continue to prepare for the forthcoming matches in a safe and secure environment.”
As well as the Israel game, the three players will also miss forthcoming meetings with Slovakia and the Czech Republic.