Scotland vs Georgia: Steven Naismith not taking place for granted despite excellent start to the season

Everton striker heads into Saturday;s European Championship qualifier having already scored four times this season

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Steven Naismith is not taking his Scotland place against Georgia for granted despite a terrific start to the season.

The Everton forward could hardly be in better form ahead of Saturday's European Championship qualifier at Ibrox, having netted four times in eight games for the Toffees this term - including strikes against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

The 28-year-old also put in a fine performance when Gordon Strachan's side went down 2-1 to world champions Germany in their opening Group D fixture in Dortmund last month and many will have him down as a certain starter against the Georgians.

However, speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall training base on the outskirts of Glasgow yesterday, as he helped introduce the Scottish FA's new nominated charity Dyslexia Scotland, Naismith said:

"There is one rule this manager has and that is nobody is guaranteed a place in the squad.

"We have so many players in form right now. Stevie May has won a move and had a fantastic start to the season with Sheffield Wednesday, Steven Fletcher is scoring goals again and Chris Martin has been consistent for the last two years.

"That alone shows that the manager has a big decision to make.

"This game is slightly different from the Germany game in that we are at home and will be favourites to win, so we will probably be a bit more attacking.

"Will the manager play with two or three strikers? I don't know."

Indeed, the former Rangers and Kilmarnock player does not believe his red-hot start to the season represents his best ever run of performances.

"No I don't think [this is my best form ever]," he said. "I have played consistently well for a period when I was at Rangers.

"I was maybe playing a slightly different role. This is probably the first time I have had a set role in the team as a striker or just off a striker.

"That has definitely helped me as I feel most comfortable there."

Group rivals the Republic of Ireland have already stolen a march on the Scots by beating the Georgians in Tbilisi, and Naismith knows the Scots risk being left behind if they do not pick up three points this weekend.

He believes Strachan will send his team out with a cavalier attitude in an attempt to kick-start their qualifying bid.

Naismith said: "I think we will be more positive. Playing with two strikers doesn't necessarily mean you are being more positive but the manager will have a system in mind. He has very rarely got it wrong since he took over.

"But one thing for sure is that we will be more attacking than we were in Germany. We will need to be.

"Being at home you want to get the crowd behind you, dictate the tempo and play an advanced game that creates chances. So that has to be our main aim from the kick-off."

PA

Comments