Hearts star Andraz Struna to lead the Slovenia charge against Scotland after earning World Cup qualification recall

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS defender Andraz Struna has been named in the Slovenia squad to face Scotland this month following an impressive start to his Tynecastle career.

The 27-year-old was one of nine January arrivals in Gorgie but has quickly established himself as the club’s first-choice right-back in the absence of the injured Callum Paterson, making 10 appearances for Ian Cathro’s side.

He has helped the side to three clean sheets in that time, while his sole assist came in Hearts’ impressive 4-1 win over Rangers in February, teeing up Krystian Nowak’s opening goal.

(pic: heartsfc.co.uk)

Having endured six months without a club after leaving Greek side PAS Giannina last summer, Struna was omitted from Slovenia’s last three squads – however he could add to his 25 caps against the country where he now plies his trade after earning a recall from boss Sre?ko Katanec.

Struna’s younger brother, Carpi star Aljaz, has also been named in the Slovenia squad alongside star men Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, Bayer Levekusen’s Kevin Kampl and Fiorentina ace Josip Ilicic.

Katanec said: “The match in Scotland will be unique. I expect a struggle, the ball in the air and plenty of fights for the ball. We will try to play our best game in Glasgow and see what that brings.”

Struna is the latest Jambos player to secure international recognition, with Alexandros Tziolis landing a call-up for the Greece squad and Africa Cup of Nations champion Arnaud Djoum keeping his place in the Cameroon set-up for upcoming friendlies against Tunisia and Guinea.

Liam Smith has also been named in Scot Gemmill’s Scotland under-21 group.

Slovenia squad: Oblak, Belec, Koprivec, Cesar, Jokic, Kranjc, Mevlja, Samardzic, Al Struna, An Struna, Sirok, Birsa, Crnic, Kampl, Krhin, Kurtic, Majer, Omladic, Verbic, Zajc, Beric, Bezjak, Ilicic, Novakovic.

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