Scott returns to earth after debut high

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The Independent Football

Martin Scott made a scoring debut as Scotland Under-21s beat their Iceland counterparts 4-0, but he admitted that his thoughts are still with Livingston's relegation battle.

The Livingston midfielder was one of five new caps at Firhill on Tuesday night as the interim manager Maurice Malpas cobbled together a side to take on Iceland. The striker Steven Naismith scored the opener after only 60 seconds, and Scott's drive after 19 minutes allowed the home side to cruise through to the final whistle of the challenge match - adding a double by Calum Elliot to give the scoreline an emphatic sheen.

Livingston are struggling at the foot of the Premier League, seven points adrift of second from bottom Dunfermline. Despite his debut success, 20-year-old Scott, who has yet to score for the Almondvale side, could not set aside his club's plight.

"It was my first Under-21s start, the first time I've been involved in the squad - and it's just good to get a result," he said. "I just wish I could score more goals for Livingston. They are first and foremost in my career now. If I can help them stay in the SPL then maybe I can get another Scotland cap. The boys at Livingston will keep working hard to stay in the SPL this season. It's the same sort of pressure you are under in every game, whether it's for Scotland or your club, and you can't look at it any different."

When the action starts on the pitch, though, it is not quite the same. "You know how everybody plays at your club, because you're training with them every day," Scott said. "But at international level, it's a wee bit harder recognising other people's game. Sometimes you're making a long run, and they want you to come short - so you can get mix-ups.

"But it gives you a lift coming to play with really good players from teams like Celtic and Rangers. When you go back to your club you are buzzing."

There were some familiar faces alongside Scott on Tuesday night. "There were a couple of players, Martin Woods and Rocco Quinn from the Under-19s, in there with me. I grew up with them in that side, and it's good to make the step up with them. It made it easier."

On a bitterly cold night at Firhill, Scott was withdrawn just before the break with a groin strain, but the Livingston midfielder reports he was given some help from nature with the healing process. "I didn't have to ice my groin - it was freezing anyway!" he said.

The Aberdeen defender Alexander Diamond, who was taken off along with Elliot in the second half after the players clashed heads in their own penalty area and required stitches, is a doubt for the SPL match against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday.

* The Celtic captain Neil Lennon said that he hopes to remain at the club for at least another season. Lennon, 34, expects to open contract talks with the club towards the end of the current campaign. "The situation's very similar to the one I was in at the end of last season. I'm not putting the club under any pressure. That said, we'll no doubt sit down and talk about it nearer the end of the season and I hope there will be a desire to keep me."

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