End­ing cap ca­reer was never go­ing to be op­tion for Mar­shall

Scottish Daily Mail - - Scotland Special - By MARK WILSON

GRANTED a de­but at the tail-end of the Berti Vogts era some 15 years ago, David Mar­shall won his first three caps un­der three dif­fer­ent Scot­land man­agers. Stability has rarely been a friend since. Mar­shall has been in and out of squads, found Craig Gor­don and Al­lan McGre­gor block­ing his path, and lived through some of the many na­tional team dis­ap­point­ments dur­ing the past decade and a half. Al­ways, though, he lived in hope of brighter days ahead. Re­tir­ing from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball was never on his mind. Not even dur­ing the two years and eight months that passed with­out him mak­ing an ap­pear­ance prior to Steve Clarke’s ap­point­ment. That re­call for Mar­shall has added six caps to a to­tal which now stands at 33. With the Euro 2020 play-offs in sight be­yond tonight’s Group I fi­nale against Kaza­khstan, the 34-year-old Wi­gan goal­keeper is as ea­ger as ever to find suc­cess in a Scot­land shirt. Asked if he had ever feared his time with the na­tional team was over, he replied: ‘I didn’t, no. ‘I gen­uinely felt as long as I got back to a good enough level, I could get here again. ‘It maybe hap­pened a lit­tle bit quicker than I thought and the sit­u­a­tion with other goal­keep­ers changed as well. I hoped it wasn’t done, any­way.’ McGre­gor’s re­tire­ment from Scot­land duty is one of those changes. Gor­don and Scott Bain have also both fallen be­hind Fraser Forster in the Park­head peck­ing or­der. ‘There have been stages in my ca­reer when I’ve not been in­volved at club level and not been there, so you miss it,’ said Mar­shall (right). ‘With­drawals hap­pen at this time of the year and there’s a lot of games com­ing up over the Christ­mas pe­riod, so it must be tough for the man­ager to try to get a set­tled squad, but I’ve never had any is­sues about turn­ing up.’

Mar­shall en­joys the clar­ity Clarke puts for­ward to the squad, in­sist­ing his depth of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence — as both a man­ager and a No 2 — is per­fect for the in­ter­na­tional game. ‘He’s been great,’ added the for­mer Celtic young­ster. ‘The train­ing was great from the very first camp — ev­ery­body knows their job and ev­ery­body en­joyed it. ‘We’ve been un­suc­cess­ful get­ting to tour­na­ments in re­cent sea­sons and when you chop and change man­agers, there comes a time when that’s not the is­sue. ‘The ex­pe­ri­ence the gaffer’s had, who he’s worked with and where he’s been, I don’t think any­body can ques­tion his role at all. ‘Ev­ery­body en­joys turn­ing up and ev­ery­body en­joys the train­ing. Hope­fully, more wins will help us get that con­fi­dence on the pitch.’ Satur­day’s 2-1 vic­tory in Cyprus was a step in the right di­rec­tion but there was no op­por­tu­nity for Mar­shall to se­cure a sev­enth Scot­land clean sheet. The carousel of dif­fer­ent per­son­nel be­ing used in front of him has hin­dered hope of a sta­ble de­fen­sive base. ‘Ide­ally, you’d want that — you can’t lie,’ ad­mit­ted Mar­shall. ‘But with in­juries, it’s just been im­pos­si­ble. ‘It’s dif­fi­cult to get con­ti­nu­ity be­cause you don’t meet up all that of­ten. You prob­a­bly get three or four train­ing days be­fore a game even if you do have a set­tled back four. ‘It would be great but, with in­juries, it just changes so much. Cen­tre­half es­pe­cially has chopped and changed. It’s a chal­lenge but we need to try and find a way to win games be­cause it’ll be mas­sive come the play-offs next March.’

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