Stephen O’Donnell grateful for Scotland chance

Stephen O’Donnell’s gratitude for his belated Scotland career sits alongside his determination to remain part of Alex McLeish’s plans.

The 26-year-old Kilmarnock right-back was a late call-up to McLeish’s makeshift squad for the mini-tour of the Americas in the summer and made his debut against Peru in Lima before featuring in the next friendly against Mexico in Mexico City.

The Scots lost both games but O’Donnell impressed enough to retain his place in the squad for the double-header against Belgium and Albania.

After a substitute appearance in the 4-0 friendly defeat by the Red Devils at Hampden Park last Friday night he started in the Nations League opener against Albania on Monday night where Steven Naismith forced an own goal before heading in the second in a 2-0 win.

“I didn’t really expect to be in this squad but I was over the moon to be in it,” said the former Partick Thistle and Luton defender.

“I was delighted to represent my country in the summer and that will remain the same. Every squad I am in I will be grateful.

“The squad in the summer had a lot of scrutiny over it for being slightly weaker and I wasn’t in the original squad.

“Look at the boys who came back, top-quality players. There were six boys from Celtic in the squad when it was named, boys from down south including Andrew Robertson who was playing for Liverpool in the Champions League final.

“I didn’t really expect to come on against Belgium but I thoroughly enjoyed it, barring the result, which was frustrating.

“I was surprised but delighted that I managed to get a start (against Albania) which I didn’t expect and it was a good win for the country.

“There is a month before the next game. I will continue to work hard at club level and hopefully that will bring international recognition.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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