SCOTLAND manager Steve Clarke has explained his reasoning for selecting injured Stuart Armstrong and it could be good news for Saints' supporters.

The Tartan Army gaffer picked Armstrong during the September international break too, before the midfielder had to withdraw through a calf injury which has seen him miss seven successive Saints fixtures.

But eyebrows were raised when he again selected him for his international squad, despite having not played a minute this season, potentially revealing something that Saints haven’t yet.

He also picked fellow Scottish international and injured Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor, who is in a similar situation to the Saints star.

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In what could be a big boost going into Chelsea, Clarke revealed: “Callum and Stuart are both training again.

“Hopefully, between now and us meeting up, they will get game time with their clubs. That’s what I’m hoping for. We just have to wait and see how it develops.

“I will just let the medical staff deal with it. There might come a time when I need to speak to them directly to find out what the lie of the land is.

“But, like I said, I’m hopeful both will get minutes on the pitch before we meet up and then I don’t need to have that conversation.

Daily Echo: Stuart Armstrong hasn't featured since pre-season for Saints (Pic: PA)Stuart Armstrong hasn't featured since pre-season for Saints (Pic: PA)

“Obviously I have eight midfield players in there anyway. I’ve got plenty of cover in that area, but I think both will be okay.”

Clarke says that he hopes Armstrong gets some minutes for his club before joining up with the international group – which only leaves Chelsea as a potential game between now and then.

It would be his first minutes of the season, although Hasenhuttl did reveal he was close to a return when asked about his and Theo Walcott’s fitness nearly two weeks ago.

The Austrian said: “I think that it will not take that long until they are back. They are not big muscle problems, just smaller ones.

“With the calf, there is a bit of blood still in there. It will take a few more days to clear and maybe one or two weeks to come back.”

He added: "We'll give him the time he needs."