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Celtic striker confident he can continue to fill Rhodes' shooting boots

Billy Stark has little time for hyperbole, so when the Scotland under-21 manager suggests that Tony Watt can follow in the footsteps of Jordan Rhodes and prove himself on the international scene then you know he means it.

Watt scored his fourth goal in six appearances for the under-21s in a 1-1 friendly draw with Greece on Wednesday.

That record has allowed the teenager to take the place of Rhodes as the leading man in Stark's attack, with the Blackburn Rovers striker's record of eight goals in eight outings for the under-21s expediting his graduation to the senior side. Both strikers play with different styles but they have proven similarly effective on international duty.

Watt will now be a key player when Scotland contest their first qualifier for the 2015 Under-21 European Championships – against Luxembourg next month – and the Celtic youngster has welcomed comparisons with his free-scoring predecessor.

"That's nice to hear [being compared to Rhodes]," he said. "The guy's a goalscorer, isn't he? If you are fit and doing well, you get a chance to play. The manager knows what I can bring to the team so hopefully I can kick on. I'm probably one of the younger ones in the squad, though. Rory McKenzie is a good striker too – he ran the line well and won us the penalty in Greece.

"Hopefully, I can score a few more goals for the under-21s but it's a lose-lose situation because if I score goals it's expected and if I don't score goals I'm going to get slaughtered. I like showing people I'm good enough to be here so hopefully I can keep doing that."

Watt had a tiring shift in Greece on an energy-sapping pitch, but got his rewards when he started and finished the move that earned the young Scots their equaliser when he converted a penalty. That followed a start against Raith Rovers in the William Hill Scottish Cup last weekend and the forward admitted he found the going tough in Greece.

"I kind of reserved myself because I'm not up to match fitness at the moment," he said. "I've had some time out as I've not been playing many matches. We did all right though considering the pitch and the weather."

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