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EX-CELT’S DOUBLE TARGET

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CHARLIE MULGREW is determined to play a key role for Steve Clarke during Scotland’s Euro 2020 Hampden double-header against Russia on Friday and Belgium on Monday.

The 33-year-old former Celtic defender, who joined Wigan from Blackburn Rovers last month is hoping to take his international appearances to 41 in the crucial encounters.

Mulgrew, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It’s very organised under Steve Clarke – right from day one.

“You would be amazed in football how much that doesn’t happen and it’s off the cuff, but definitely not here. It’s a proper game plan and everyone knows their job.

“I know it’s said a lot about the 12th man, but at Hampden it’s a big help. Hopefully, we can get the fans to turn out for us because we need all the help we can get.”

Reflecting on his quickfire switch from Tony Mowbray’s side to their Championship rivals after three years at Rovers, Mulgrew said: “Scotland is always on your mind when you move, but it happened so quickly I didn’t really have time to think about anything. I had to make my mind up fast.

“The fact it was accepted told me it was probably for the best I went and gave my all for Wigan.”

Russia’s biggest threat is likely to be Zenit St Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba – linked with Everton and Wolves in the summer.

GROUNDED…Charlie Mulgrew sits this on out as Romelu Lukaku attacks the Scotland goal.

Versatile defender Mulgrew added: “I played against him before when he was at Spartak Moscow.

“He’s a big, tall striker and probably somebody who needs dealt with, but I’m happy to do it if called upon.

“I’m fit and raring to go, if needed.”

Brendan Rodgers, shortly after replacing Ronny Deila in May 2016, called time on Mulgrew’s six-year reign during his second spell at Parkhead after kicking off his career in the east end of Glasgow in 2002.

The stand-in Hoops skipper was released after coming out of contract as the incoming Bhoys boss put his stamp on the champions.

Mulgrew moved to Blackburn where he was named skipper by ex-Hoops gaffer Mowbray.

Now he is looking forwards to fresh challenges on the club and country front – starting with the crucial qualifier against the Russians on Friday evening.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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