Barry Bannan has 25 caps

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Midfielder Barry Bannan has been ruled out of Scotland’s World Cup qualifier against Malta at Hampden on Monday.

The Scottish FA did not say why the 27-year-old had withdrawn from the Group F tie.

Fellow Sheffield Wednesday player Steven Fletcher and Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney pulled out of the squad before Friday’s win over Lithuania.

Scotland almost certainly need to beat Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia to claim a play-off spot.

However, even three victories would not be enough for Scotland to finish as runners-up if Slovakia beat England at Wembley on Monday and Malta in the final round of matches on 8 October.

Bannan was an unused substitute in the 3-0 victory in Vilnius as manager Gordon Strachan gave starts in midfield to Celtic trio Scott Brown, James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong, Crystal Palace’s James McArthur and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion.

Hibernian’s John McGinn and Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie came on in the second half, underlining the midfield options available to Strachan as he tries to lead Scotland to one of the eight two-legged play-off places for the finals in Russia next summer.

Bannan has won 25 caps, three of which have been in the current qualifying campaign.

The top eight runners-up from Europe’s nine World Cup qualifying groups go into a two-legged play-off for a place at the 2018 World Cup

Scotland squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Archer (Millwall), Craig Gordon (Celtic), Allan McGregor (Hull City)

Defenders: Ikechi Anya (Derby County), Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian), Grant Hanley, Russell Martin (both Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Steven Whittaker (Hibernian)

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Scott Brown (Celtic), Darren Fletcher (Stoke City), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), John McGinn (Hibernian), James Morrison, Matt Phillips (both West Bromwich Albion), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham United)

Forwards: Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby County), Steven Naismith (Norwich City)

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