Craig Mackail-Smith hungry for more Scotland caps

Peterborough's Craig Mackail-Smith
Mackail-Smith could be on his way to Norwich at the end of the season

Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith is hungry for more after his first taste of international football and the backing of the Scotland fans.

The Posh striker qualifies for Craig Levein's side through his dad's mother and he was thrilled to make a late appearance in the 2-0 defeat by Brazil.

"I was absolutely blown away," he said of Sunday's match at the Emirates.

"It was fantastic to be involved and to hear the Tartan Army in full voice was something I want to keep repeating."

The League One player of the year was previously a part-time striker at Dagenham & Redbridge and his rise to international football has been remarkable.

Mackail-Smith's 27 goals this season had caught the attention of Levein's scout Michael Oliver, who had been kept abreast of the player's form by Darren Ferguson, his club manager.

"I've had to work my way up to get where I am today," he told BBC Radio Scotland on Monday.

"To get in to the squad for Sunday's game was fantastic.

"I didn't know Scotland had been watching. A few years ago they had been watching under George Burley but I didn't know about this season so there wasn't really any pressure. I just go out and perform as best as I can.

"It was [Peterborough director] Barry Fry who put to them that I was eligible to play. Last week I got the phone call.

"It was amazing to hear who they were playing. It was a strange journey.

"I was at Bristol Rovers on the Friday night playing for Peterborough and ended up on the pitch at the Emirates against Lucio and Dani Alves."

Though Mackail-Smith was born in Watford, his gran hails from Edinburgh and had hoped he might one day be selected for Scotland.

The player was thrilled that his "nan" was able to attend the match.

"I didn't expect her to be there," he said. "After the game finished I went to meet my family and they had brought her along.

"She was proud and gave me a massive hug at the end."

Mackail-Smith was made to feel at home in the Scotland squad, some of whom he had played against when in the Championship.

He added: "The manager took me round everyone and it was easy to fit in.

"They made it easy for me, because I was a little bit nervous but I settled down straight away.

"Most of the squad are quite young and inexperienced so there is a lot to improve on.

"Playing against one of the best teams in the world, there is no doubt you are going to learn from it.

"They worked very hard to contain them. I felt we kept the ball OK on some occasions.

"It was disappointing not to create a few more chances but against a team like Brazil you are always going to be on the back foot."

A move to Paul Lambert's Norwich side is a possibility in the summer, though recent talks stalled over a fee.

The transfer would signify another step up in his club career, something he puts down to "maturing as a player and a person".

"I had a lot of set-backs when I was younger; people didn't think I was good enough to play at the top level," he said.

"I always believed I was good enough and it was just a case of working hard, and it has worked out this season.

"My all-round game has clicked and that has put me in the spotlight.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to represent the country on Sunday. It's just a great honour to put the shirt on and play for them."

Top Stories