Scotland: Russell Martin puts revival down to team spirit

By Alasdair LamontSenior football reporter, BBC Scotland
Interview - Scotland defender Russell Martin

Russell Martin credits team spirit and attention to detail for Scotland's recent revival.

Scotland visit Norway on Tuesday, having won three and drawn one of their last six matches, with defeats against England and Belgium.

"The manager sets really high standards and goes into great depths, tactically," defender Martin said of Gordon Strachan's preparation.

"We are going in the right direction and long may that continue."

Despite the disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil, Martin insists Scotland are on the right track.

"It's a close-knit squad and when you come away it almost feels like a club," said the Norwich City defender.

"That spirit is probably the hardest thing to generate in international football because you don't come away too often and there can be long gaps between squads.

"To harness that and get the results we have been getting is great."

Strachan has indicated he will "freshen up" his side following the goalless draw against the USA and Martin is confident of a positive Scotland display in Molde.

"The manager might try a few new things but whoever goes out on the pitch will be extremely well-drilled," the defender said. "We train really hard and everyone knows exactly what they've got to do."

Martin pinpoints the 1-0 victory over Croatia in Zagreb as the turning point. "It was certainly the catalyst for me, to get a chance and try and prove myself," he said.

"Since then it has gone well as a group. Getting positive results; it gets people believing in us again and gets us believing in ourselves.

"Since the Croatia game the belief has built up and up and the confidence has grown.

Scotland players celebrating a goal
Belief in the Scotland camp has grown under manager Gordon Strachan

"Players have been given a chance and taken it and everybody does feel part of the squad."

With focus for Scotland now shifting to Euro 2016 and the draw in February, Martin is excited about the future with the national side.

For the first time, the European Championship finals will be a 24-team tournament instead of the 16-team format used since 1996.

"The way we are playing at the minute means we'll look forward to the challenge," he said.

"We are confident that we can give most people a game now and we will take that into the next campaign.

"We've set high standards now and we are looking to qualify for a major tournament because it's long overdue."

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