Greg Docherty hopes to join Steve Clarke’s legion of lesser lights as he seeks his chance to shine for Scotland.
Hampden boss Clarke has proved he is willing to look beyond the Old Firm and big-money Premier League stars in his search for national team recruits.
Aberdeen defender Andy Considine was handed his first two caps at the age of 33 last week, while Hibernian stopper Paul Hanlon, 30, also made his debut in the victory over the Czech Republic.
The Motherwell pair of Declan Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell were involved in all three legs of the Scots’ recent triple-header as Clarke opened the door to those playing for the country’s provisional clubs.
But with Covid-19 cases continuing to spread across the nation, Clarke knows he may yet have to put another call out to Premiership players and those plugging away in England’s lower tiers as he looks to build a side to beat Serbia to a place at Euro 2020 next month.
In a call to arms, the boss made it clear to his Scotland hopefuls that they have three weeks to show they can make the step up – and Hull ace Docherty is ready to give it a go.
The midfielder quit Rangers in the summer after failing to break into Steven Gerrard’s line-up but is flying high with the Tigers, who sit a point off the top of England’s League One after six games.
Watch the highlights as Steve Clarke's Scotland made it three victories from three in October and extended our unbeaten run to eight games.#SCOCZE | #NationsLeaguepic.twitter.com/NOXJ63f4aO— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) October 16, 2020
He told the PA news agency: “Steve Clarke’s words definitely made me sit up and take notice.
“I think what Steve Clarke has done is involve boys who may even themselves have thought they’d never get a sniff of the squad.
“But he is trusting the SPFL which is great because I think our own league has been overlooked for a long time. It’s not as easy to play up here as some folk think. So there’s no reason why I can’t look to claim a place now.
“I have a job to do down here with Hull but if we’re sitting at towards the top of the league and I’m playing well then I don’t see why I wouldn’t be considered.
“The only thing standing in my way is the fact that the midfield is the strongest area of the squad. Look at the quality we have, there are Premier League players sitting on the bench.
“But you never know with a bit of luck what can happen. With the Covid situation things may end up falling in your favour. But playing international football is definitely a major ambition of mine. It’s the pinnacle for any Scottish player.”
Scotland are 90 minutes away from a first major finals since 1998 and even if Docherty fails to make the cut for next month’s play-off final in Belgrade, he hopes he will have something to aim for next summer.
“I’m 24 now and I’m starting to think I really want to get going over the next year or two,” said the former Hamilton, Shrewsbury and Hibs midfielder.
“The guys in the Scotland midfield are doing well for their clubs so I just have to do the same with Hull and see where it takes me.
“With the Euros being put back a year you immediately start thinking this might give me a chance, it might work in my favour. Steve Clarke does seem to be a manager who will pick you and back you if you’re playing well, regardless of the level you’re playing at.
“The guys who have been selected, who you might not have expected to get that call, have delivered for the manager and that’s credit to both them and Steve Clarke.”
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