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European Qualifiers Group D

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European Qualifiers Group D

Martin: Fight for places

Russell Martin says increased competition for places in Gordon Strachan's side is the key to Scotland's run of form.

Last Updated: 20/11/13 at 22:50 Post Comment

Russell Martin: Enjoying Scotland upturn under Gordon Strachan

Russell Martin: Enjoying Scotland upturn under Gordon Strachan

The Norwich man was paired with Gordon Greer at the heart of the Dark Blues defence for Tuesday night's friendly win in Norway, with usual partner Grant Hanley rested.

Former Hearts centre-half Christophe Berra was also given a late run-out and Martin believes a four-game unbeaten run has much to do with the fresh fight for a starting spot.

He said: "I enjoyed getting a run out alongside Gordon. We mix and match in training a lot and we've both been in a lot of squads together, so we know each other's game.

"He did really well with Granty the other night against America and for his first two caps, he's got two clean sheets, so you can't ask for any more than that.

"Gordon coming into the squad is good news. It's more competition and that can only help raise standards.

"Me and Grant have played the last few games together and we've had a fairly good record. But Gordon has shown what he's about in these last two games and we also have Christophe back involved now too.

"It's good for the manager. He knows he has got players he can rely on in every position now, not just centre-half.

"If you look at the squad, we have two players - at least two players - who can play in every position. So that means we are confident in the team we are putting out there and confident of getting a result."

After victories over Croatia and Macedonia, and a goalless draw against the United States, Strachan's men must wait until March to play again, with the Scottish Football Association hopeful of arranging a friendly.

Their next competitive action will come in September when the Euro 2016 qualifiers get under way and Martin can't wait for February's draw.

"It's frustrating for us as players but probably more so for the manager. He's not going to see the lads for a while," Martin added.

"I'm sure some of the lads will be happy to have the break but for me the sooner the games come the better. Then we can look forward to the draw and see what happens from there."

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