ROBERT Snodgrass insisted last night it feels good to be back in the Scotland fold under the straight-talking Steve Clarke – and hit out at the “lies” and “dishonesty” he experienced under the previous regime. While the 31-year-old West Ham forward insists he got on well with Alex McLeish and doesn’t hold anything against him or his staff, he spoke in veiled terms about certain aspects of the previous campaign which left him “mentally scarred”.

Having been asked to be omitted from McLeish’s squad for the double header with Belgium and Albania in August 2008 to tend to his mum Irene, who had suffered from a stroke - yet answered the call in any case after the withdrawal of Matt Phillips - matters came to a head for Snodgrass when he wasn’t even stripped for the meeting with Israel in Haifa that October, having made himself available despite a recent tragedy in his family.

Whether all this backstory coloured his thoughts about representing Scotland, Snodgrass insists he never made himself unavailable for his country and resents the implication from pundits and former players that he did. Reluctant to speak about the matter until now out of respect to his team-mates, one conversation with Clarke was all it took for the new manager to be reassured enough to welcome him back into the fold for the double header with Russia and Belgium.


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“When you have played as many games as I have for Scotland, it was just: be honest to me,” said Snodgrass. “In the last campaign, while I won't go into it, it wasn't honest.

“I am not 16 anymore,” he added. “I am almost 32. I am coming to the back end of my career and I just want people to be honest with me.

“I have always come and backed the lads, every opportunity I get, playing or not playing. But don't tell lies to me. I am not a kid.

“I have played over 500 games so just be straight with me. And he [Clarke] has been straight with me.

“I won't tell you the conversation, but he has been straight with me. And when people are straight with you in any job, any walk of life, then you can appreciate that and have respect for that.

"I am good, glad to be back," added the 31-year-old. "Straight away it just feels different. And let's make this clear. This is not about me not playing. There were loads of games I didn't get picked for and I'd still be there for the next one, backing the boys. It's not a case that I'm only here if I'm playing.


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"I never played under [Gordon] Strachan and I came back," he added. "My Scotland career hasn't been plain sailing. I didn't play under [Craig] Levein to start off with but I'm there, I'm there, I'm there, I'm there. Nobody can ever question my commitment to play for Scotland.

"Listen, if they do then that's fine. But what I'm saying is that I just want honesty because it's small things like that that matter to me. Even if you're not playing me, just be honest with me. I'm fine with that. I'm going through that state at West Ham just now. When that happens you need to be a good team-mate. If you have a team full of boys like that you'll go further."