Berra acquires a taste for the international limelight

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The Independent Football

Christophe Berra says that captaining the Scotland B side has whetted his appetite for a first full cap.

The Heart of Midlothian captain was handed the armband by the Scotland manager, Alex McLeish, for the feisty 1-1 draw with a Republic of Ireland B side at New Broomfield on Tuesday night.

Derby forward Steve Howard scored on his international debut to cancel out Aberdeen defender Richie Byrne's opener for the Irish.

And 22-year-old centre-back Berra is hopeful that Tuesday's outing marks just the beginning of a lengthy international career at senior level, having come through the youth ranks with Scotland.

He said: "I was very proud to lead the side out and that would be the same no matter what level of Scotland team is, it's still a great moment.

"I just hope that I can step up from this and get better as a player and hope my chance will come for the full international team. But I'm aiming to do well at Hearts and let the other things take care of themselves."

Berra was called up to McLeish's Scotland squad for the friendly against South Africa in August, but did not play. However, he has been tipped as a long-term partner for Stephen McManus at the heart of the defence, and could be reunited with former Hearts colleagues Craig Gordon and Paul Hartley in the national side.

He marshalled the B team defence well against against a lively and physical visiting Republic side.

Berra admitted there were faults with his own display but believes the team acquitted themselves well under difficult circumstances."It was more of a British-style game and there was a lot of tackles flying in and it was end-to-end but I think a draw was a fair result.

"A lot of their guys were very aggressive and had a bit of a temper on them and we had to show a bit of discipline and I think we did.

"It was a hard game and I did make a couple of mistakes but that's football and you have to learn from them. When you only meet up for a few days and nobody has played together before then it's an awkward scenario, but the manager thanked us all for our effort and our work rate.

"You need at least a week to work on things and build up an understanding but we didn't have that, and in the end I feel we went out and gave a good account of ourselves."

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