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EX-CELTIC STAR REVEALS WHY HE WOULD NEVER SNUB SCOTLAND

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FORMER Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong has admitted his “special” feeling when he plays for Scotland.

The Southampton star hopes to play his part  in the Euro 2020 double-header when Steve Clarke’s side take on Cyprus in Nicosia tomorrow afternoon and Kazakhstan at Hampden on Tuesday night as they wrap up their ill-fated group campaign.

The games are meaningless in terms of qualification with Belgium and Russia breezing through the section with both countries beating the Scots home and away.

Clarke’s squad has been hit by call-offs this week with skipper Andy Robertson among the drop-outs, but Armstrong, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “I don’t think I would ever turn down the opportunity to come away with Scotland.

“Playing for your country is probably the best thing in football for me.

“It’s a different feeling from club football. Club football is terrific, but playing for Scotland is always a special thing for me.”

The 27-year-old strong-running midfield man, who was signed by Ronny Deila for the Hoops in the January 2015 transfer window in a £2million double deal along with Gary Mackay-Steven from Dundee United, was left out the original pool of players for the recent games in Moscow and San Marino in Glasgow.

He added: “It was difficult not being named in the squad initially the last time, but I had a good chat with the manager and completely understood the things we talked about.

“The Scotland squad should always be picked on form and sometimes when you are not playing as regularly as you want to for your club, you can’t really argue.

“But I was delighted to get the call to come back into the squad. I love being here.

“It was really nice of the gaffer to explain to me beforehand why I wasn’t in that squad. I could have just found out when he named it. We had a good chat and I completely agreed with everything he said.

“It’s a great positive to have that relationship with the manager. All the players will be the same.

“He’s just open with us. We are all human beings and can all be spoken to as adults. It’s a great thing to be able to speak one-on-one truthfully.”

Inverness-born Armstrong added: “We have two big games in March, but we’re not thinking about that right now. It’s about building on that San Marino performance and making sure these next two games against Cyprus and Kazakhstan are positive, that we get points from them and finish as high in the group as possible.

“Everyone thrives on good performances and winning games. That attracts positivity among supporters, so it’s up to us as a group to build on the San Marino game and offer the fans good performances and wins.”

 

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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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