DAVID TEMPLETON noted the arrival of a new Scotland manager this week with detached interest.
The 24 year-old has not given up on representing his country but, having been overlooked during a period with Hearts several years ago when he was rated among the most exciting young players in the country, he is not expecting a call-up from Gordon Strachan any time soon.
Craig Levein, Strachan's predecessor, tied himself up in verbal knots as he deliberated over whether to pick players from the third division or not but Templeton believes that, if a player is good enough to represent his country, it shouldn't matter at what level he is playing his club football.
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"I think if you're playing well it's up to them to pick you," said the Rangers winger. "If you look at Lee Wallace, he's unbelievable. He's one of the best players I have played with. I don't know why he wasn't getting picked before and after he came here to Rangers. Hopefully he will get his chance because he's a fantastic player and he would benefit Scotland. I don't know [Strachan] at all but he seems like a good manager. Being a winger might help me if he likes his wingers."
The 24-year-old, however, isn't getting his hopes up. He recalls a time late in 2010 when Levein gave debuts to seven players in a friendly international against the Faroe Islands and he was not among them. Templeton was at the peak of his game, voted the Scottish Premier League's young player of the month for November and December after scoring five goals in eight games, one a memorable mazy run and finish in the Edinburgh derby.
"It's never really bothered me," he said. "I was playing well at Hearts and thought there was a chance if I kept [doing that] I might get called up for the friendly. That's probably the best I have played but I didn't get selected. If I didn't get picked then I didn't see myself getting a chance in future. I just shut it all out and concentrated on club football. If anything happens it would be a bonus but if not I'm not too fussed. I've still got plenty of time to get there."
Rangers have made their feelings clear on the prospect of having to play the same teams again next season if reconstructions plans and a move to a 12-12-18 set-up are pushed through in time and Templeton was similarly unenthused about the idea.
"We've obviously played this season to win the league and if we do that and have to play the same team in basically the same division with a couple of different teams next season. It would be disappointing. If you win the league you want to go further up – that's the whole point in winning that league."
Rangers return to the scene of their opening third division match when they travel to Peterhead on Sunday. The 2-2 draw last August was an early warning that Ally McCoist's side would not have it all their own way but they have gradually learnt to adapt to their new surroundings.
"I wasn't here at the start, but we were struggling to get that away win," said Templeton. "As soon as we got it against Clyde we have kicked on in away games and it's made a massive difference confidence-wise. A lot of people don't realise how hard it is in the third dvision."
The Rangers Fans Fighting Fund, meanwhile, has announced they will underwrite any legal costs incurred if it is deemed necessary to challenge the potential stripping of Clydesdale Bank Premier League titles. An SPL-appointed independent commission chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith will begin a hearing into alleged undisclosed payments made by Rangers to players before the club went into liquidation.