Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor has retired from international duty in order to protect himself from injury.
The 37-year-old Rangers 'keeper has made 42 appearances for his country and has been the first-choice No.1 for boss Alex McLeish.
The shot-stopper informed management of his decision this weekend and opened up in an interview on Monday about his choice, desire to protect his body and spend more time with his young family.
“At this stage in my career, and rather than cause any disruption in the middle of a campaign, I feel now is the best moment to step away from international football,” McGregor told The Guardian.
“I've played almost 50 games already this season and, with the prospect of the same again for the next couple of years, I think it’s important to protect my body and take rest periods when possible. Spending time with my young daughter is also very important to me.”
McGregor expressed how tricky this decision was for him, and wished the team luck in the future.
“Playing for Scotland was always an honour and this wasn’t an easy decision to make. I want to wish all the management and players the best for the future. I’d love to see them reach a tournament.”
McGregor played a role in Scotland’s successful Nations League outing which has left them in a strong position to qualify for their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, even though their Euro 2020 qualification group has two tough teams in Russia and Belgium.
Gordon’s retirement will present McLeish with a selection headache though ahead of naming his squad for games against Kazakhstan and San Marino on Tuesday.
Scott Bain has been in good form for Celtic since taking over in goal this year and is likely to assume the role as first-choice.
His back-up will be harder to find as Bain himself has displaced the natural choice, Craig Gordon, at Celtic.
Regardless of how difficult it may be to replace him, assistant manager James McFadden paid tribute to McGregor.
“We are very disappointed to lose a top-class goalkeeper but understand his decision,” McFadden was quoted by The Daily Record
“The manager spoke to him and Allan made it clear that it’s to do with his body and he wants to make sure he is getting a rest during international breaks and he is well within his rights to do that.”