Sheffield Wednesday: Barry Bannan starts but it’s heartbreak for Scotland

Barry Bannan cuts a dejected figure as Scotland miss out on a play-off place for the 2018 World Cup
Barry Bannan cuts a dejected figure as Scotland miss out on a play-off place for the 2018 World Cup
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Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan claimed his 26th senior international cap but it was a day of heartbreak for Scotland.

The 27-year-old made his second start in four days for his country, as Gordon Strachan’s men were held to a 2-2 draw by Slovenia when victory was vital in their final game in Group F.

A 3-0 win for Slovakia over Malta meant it was they who secured second place in the group behind England.

Bannan’s Wednesday teammate Steven Fletcher came off the bench for the final ten minutes with Scotland 2-1 down. Robert Snodgrass equalised with two minutes to go but Scotland could not find the winner they needed.

Bannan’s inclusion came after Celtic pair Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown pulled out of the squad with injury.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to bide your time,” said the former Aston Villa trainee, who has been impressive for Wednesday this season. “This squad have been playing brilliant and unfortunately for Scott and Stuart, they both got injuries.”

Scotland accrued only four points from their opening four fixtures but collected 14 from their last six outings following a remarkable upsurge.

Bannan said: “I played the first three games and results didn’t go to plan so obviously there were going to be changes and the boys who have come in have done really, really well and we’ve had great results so you’ve got to wait your turn.

“If people are performing, you have got to wait your turn and keep going.”

n George Hirst will be looking to make his fourth appearance of the season when England Under-19s take on Slovakia tonight.

The striker, who has not played for Wednesday at any level so far this term, featured in the Young Lions 1-0 loss at Czech Republic last week.