IF Scotland do make it to the European Championships next summer to end the seemingly interminable wait for the Tartan Army to savour major tournament football once more, there will be no one in the country who will savour the moment more than David Marshall.

The goalkeeper earned his debut cap after all way back in 2004 under Berti Vogts, the last man to even take the nation into a play-off. The bruising second-leg defeat to the Netherlands was almost a year before Marshall made his bow though, meaning that his 15-year international career to this point has been a hotchpotch of qualifiers, friendly appearances and more watching briefs as an unused substitute than he would care to remember.

Brought back in as the nation’s number one under Steve Clarke though, all that will change in March – fitness willing – as he looks set to take the gloves for the biggest games Scotland has seen during his long involvement with the national side.


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Marshall never lost faith that he would come back to reclaim the number one position for his country, a feat made easier admittedly by the retirement of Rangers’ Allan McGregor and the lack of game-time Craig Gordon is currently enjoying at Celtic.

Perhaps more impressively, the Wigan keeper has never lost his faith that Scotland can get back to a major tournament, and he is praying that March will be both his and the country’s moment at last.

“I genuinely felt as long as I got back to a good enough level, I could get here again,” Marshall said.

“It maybe happened a little bit quicker than I thought and the situation with other goalkeepers changed as well. I hoped it wasn’t done, anyway.

“There have been stages in my career when I’ve not been involved at club level and not been there, so you do miss it. These things [withdrawals] happen at this time of the year and there’s a lot of games coming up over the Christmas period, so it must be difficult for the manager to try to get a settled squad, but I’ve never had any issues about turning up.

“I made my debut under Berti. Football has changed a hell of a lot since then but in terms of the set-up it’s limited in what can change because we don’t have a lot of time together.

“I’ve been in a few campaigns like [this], where the manager loses his job early and the campaign’s done. It’s been a bit strange because we’ve known all along that come March, we’ve got a play-off anyway, so it’s been a bit different.

“You get a lift when a new manager comes in. Some fresh lads are added to the squad and we are all keen to see what the manager wants to do.

“It’s four months now before the prep starts for the March match. It’s a new squad and there have been a lot of injuries as well, so it’s been difficult for the manager to get any kind of continuity.


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“But winning on Saturday night, winning last month and winning this game [against Kazakhstan] will be helpful.”

Marshall was quick to praise the job being done by manager Steve Clarke since he took over from Alex McLeish as Scotland manager, but the keeper says that it is the players who must take the responsibility on of achieving what has eluded the team for over two decades now.

“He’s been great,” he said. “The first camp was the June one, the training was great - everybody knows their job, and everybody enjoyed it.

“We’ve been unsuccessful getting to tournaments in recent seasons and when you chop and change managers there comes a time when that’s not the issue. The experience the gaffer’s had, who’s worked with and where he’s been, I don’t think anybody can question his role at all. Everybody enjoys turning up and everybody enjoys the training. Hopefully more wins will help us getting that confidence on the pitch.

“The players have worked really hard, we’ve won one game and we’ve another on Tuesday. So obviously it gives the manager a decision to make in March.

“I’m sure the fans who travelled and watched on TV could see how much winning meant to us on Saturday. The crowd won’t be as high on Tuesday but hopefully we can put on a show and that can lead into a bit of belief come March.”