Celtic: Gary Mackay-Steven not fretting over Scotland caps

Gary Mackay-Steven scored against former club Dundee United on Saturday
Gary Mackay-Steven scored against former club Dundee United on Saturday

Gary Mackay-Steven admits he was not expecting to be named in the latest Scotland squad despite feeling he has improved as a player while with Celtic.

The 24-year-old transferred from Dundee United in January along with fellow midfielder Stuart Armstrong.

But praised performances did not force them into Gordon Strachan's squad to face Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

"I wasn't expecting it as the Scotland squad's been quite settled now for a number of games," said Mackay-Steven.

"And there's so much talent in the forward areas.

"Obviously it is nice to hear people talking about me potentially being in the Scotland squad.

"But, if anything, it just gives me added motivation to keep working hard and keep playing well for Celtic and anything else is an added bonus."

Mackay-Steven earned his one and only Scotland cap when still a United player - as a late replacement in a November 2013 friendly against the United States.

"I wanted to come here and hit the ground running and just be focused on playing well for Celtic," he said.

"I think I've improved, definitely. The last six weeks have gone quite well and I feel part of the team here now.

"I'm getting into what the manager wants you to do, so I definitely feel I have improved a lot of aspects of my game.

"Everybody wants to represent their country and play for Scotland and I'm no different, but that will come in time if I knuckle down here, be consistent and play well."

Gary Mackay-Steven has made just one appearance for Scotland
Gary Mackay-Steven has not featured for Scotland since his debut in November 2013

Mackay-Steven was ineligible to face United in recent Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup ties against his former club but scored against United in Saturday's 3-0 Premiership win.

"I was at Dundee United for four years and loved my time there, but it was good to finally get on the park," he explained.

"The last few weeks have been frustrating watching from the stands.

"It was a little bit strange, but I'm a Celtic player now and I was happy to do my job.

"It was always in my plan not to celebrate out of respect for my time there."

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