Brighton captain Gordon Greer leaves it late but seeks Scotland debut

 

Gordon Greer has admitted he left hopes of a Scotland cap back in Kilmarnock when he signed for Doncaster six years ago.

The 32-year-old Brighton captain moved from Rugby Park to the then League One side in 2009, having played twice for Scotland B, but as he made his way to Yorkshire he  believed his chances of full international honours had gone.

After being called up for the first time for the 2014 World Cup qualifier away to Croatia in June, when Scotland pulled off a shock 1-0 win, the powerful defender had to withdraw with tonsillitis but manager Gordon Strachan has kept faith in him.

He is the only uncapped member of Strachan’s squad for the final qualifier against the Croats at Hampden on Tuesday night but is desperate to get the opportunity which he thought had disappeared.

“When I left Kilmarnock to go down south I thought that was it for me,” Greer said. “I went to play at Doncaster at League One and I thought that was too low to get called into the Scotland squad, but since then I have moved to Brighton in the Championship [from Swindon] so we will see what happens in the future.

“Surprised? I suppose, after the amount of time I have been playing football and it hasn’t really quite happened.

“But then again, when the new manager came in, he has his own ideas so in the back of your mind you think, ‘Hopefully, this manager will like me and I will have a chance.’

“The press in Brighton were saying I should have a chance but, to be honest, you don’t really think  of that.

“Obviously, you strive all your life to play for the national team and I was obviously delighted to get called up the first time.

“We had finished for the season when I got called up for the Croatia game and I was gutted when I came up, that I couldn’t stay due to illness. So again, when the England friendly game came up, I was delighted to get called back in.

“It is up to me now. It is up to me to train well when I am here, hopefully impress the manager and hopefully get a chance.”

Greer knows that Strachan’s newly formed central defensive partnership of Russell Martin and Grant Hanley stand in his way and is also aware that he plays in an area of the team that only occasionally offers the chance of an appearance off the bench.

Greer said: “It is a difficult. From a personal point of view, you want to play.

“It is difficult [to get in] but you are not handed things easy in life, it is going to be hard but it is something I am prepared for.

“The boys have been doing quite well so I am not one to throw the toys out of the pram,” Greer added. “I am happy to be here and I will train well and, hopefully, if I continue to do that I will get an opportunity at one point.

“You don’t really tinker that much with the back four and the keeper, unless there is an injury or someone gets sent off, so you wait until your chance comes.”

Greer, who started his career at Clyde, does not think there is any reason why Scotland should not complete a memorable double over Croatia.

He said: “It is there for us. We are at home and the boys did brilliant away, they got the win so we will be going into the game with a lot of confidence and, hopefully, we can do it again.”

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