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Celtic's McDonald realistic about World Cup chances

Celtic striker Scott McDonald is remaining positive about his World Cup chances although recent comments made by Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek suggests he won't be there.

Australia's best-performing player in Europe for the past 18 months has been left out of the team for this weekend's Asian Cup qualifier in Oman because Verbeek prefers to use a loan striker with a taller, more physical presence.

That description does not fit McDonald but you can't hide from his goalscoring record and that's the thing he will work on to force his way back into the squad according to his agent Lou Sticca.

''Scott has read the comments made by Verbeek in the Australian media and if he is to go by those words then I suppose it looks like Scott will not figure in the World Cup plans for 2010,'' Sticca said yesterday.

''That hurts of course, but it is out of Scott's control. Naturally, he is disappointed to be overlooked for the Oman game, but he will keep working hard to score goals.''

It would be easy for McDonald to throw in the towel as he has often been either overlooked or used in a non-customary role by Verbeek despite the fact he continually puts the ball into the back of the net for his club but Sticca says his desire to represent his country is as strong as ever.

''Scott has no beef with Pim Verbeek and Pim's selections. The fact is that Verbeek has to choose players that he feels he can get the results he wants,'' Sticca added.

''We have to be pragmatic here and the reality is Verbeek has got Australia to the World Cup doing it his way.

''Whether or not Scott ends up playing any part under Verbeek from now on remains to be seen. Scott wants to play and score for Australia, but so does every other Australian player.

"The lack of goals for the Socceroos is a source of annoyance for Scott but more because he wants to put on a show for the Australian fans. In his 44 games for Australia at youth level, Scott hit the back of the net over 30 times.

''Scott is very keen to go to South Africa with the Socceroos but not to make up the numbers,'' Sticca concluded.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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