George Burley has expressed his disappointment at the number of withdrawals from his squad as Scotland prepare to take on World Cup qualifiers Japan at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday.
Amid a growing furore within the host nation over the absence of 10 players from the squad originally named by Burley, the former Ipswich and Southampton boss apologised for bringing a weakened party to Japan, but the manager stressed there was little he could do and laid part of the blame for the situation on the rough and tumble of football in Britain.
"I'm an international manager and I think I'm the most disappointed because I've lost a number of very good players," said Burley. "I've lost four players at the weekend because of injuries. Then we had four players who came and two of them trained but they were struggling with injuries. Two players couldn't train after the weekend."
He added: "British football is very competitive and you get knocks. I'm the most disappointed, I want the strongest team but what it does it allows me to play some of the younger players and some who haven't been involved before.
"So we're very disappointed. I wanted to bring those 22 players that I picked originally but unfortunately I couldn't because of injury.
"We had an Old Firm game on the weekend and we all know they can be very bruising."
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher and Tottenham defender Alan Hutton pulled out of the trip at the last minute to join Scott Brown, Shaun Maloney, Danny Fox, Kevin Thomson, Steven Naismith, Robert Snodgrass and Garry O'Connor on the absentees list.
Those pull-outs were in addition to the loss of James McFadden, Ross McCormack, Chris Iwelumo, Kenny Miller, James Morrison, Kris Commons and Gary Naysmith who were not even named in the original squad.
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