Leeds United captain Ross McCormack has the character to be a Scotland success according to old boss Mark McGhee – who was impressed by his public support of Brian McDermott on deadline-day.
LEEDS UNITED captain Ross McCormack has the character to be a Scotland success according to old boss Mark McGhee – who was impressed by his public support of Brian McDermott on deadline-day.
The Championship top-scorer has joined up with his Tartan team-mates ahead of tomorrow night’s friendly clash with Poland in Warsaw.
McCormack’s involvement was seemingly threatened by an ankle injury in the weekend draw at QPR – when he netted for the 24th time this term.
Despite suffering a nasty knock in a challenge with Rangers substitute Will Keane, McCormack soldiered on and stayed on the pitch.
He went onto allay United fans’ fears the following day, tweeting: ‘On way to meet with the Scotland squad now for Poland away. For every1 asking the injury is not too bad!’
While McCormack’s goalscoring prowess has spoken for itself in a predatory 2013-14, Scotland assistant-boss McGhee has also hailed his responsibility off the field.
And he has cited his televised backing for United chief McDermott during that crazy night of January 31 when he was ‘sacked’ and reinstalled in under a day as firm evidence of that.
On McCormack, McGhee, who managed him earlier in his career at Motherwell, said: “I’m a big fan of Ross. People misunderstand his attitude because he’s got that cheeky chappie thing about him.
“But he’s a great lad and takes it seriously. He’s the Leeds captain, which says something about him and his maturity.
“Everyone saw him on Sky Sports on deadline day. He was put on the spot and handled it really well.
“As a former boss, I have a great respect for him for standing up for his manager. Not too many do that, but he spoke up and fronted it out.”
McCormack is one of just three strikers chosen by Scotland boss and ex-Whites skipper Gordon Strachan for his squad for the clash with the Poles.
Steven Fletcher and Steven Naismith have also been picked along with McCormack, who overcame competition from the likes of Jordan Rhodes to get the nod.
McCormack pulled out of Scotland’s squad ahead of their last international fixture, a friendly with Norway on November 19 due to a hamstring injury sustained in the 1-1 draw with USA days four days earlier.
Last March, a head injury meant he missed the World Cup qualifying double-header with Serbia and Wales, while illness forced him out of Strachan’s first squad for the friendly with Estonia the previous month.
McGhee admits Scotland haven’t seen the best of McCormack under the Strachan reign, but has handed him a vote of support nevertheless.
McGhee said: “He’s had to pull out of squads recently or come on as a sub and not done as well as he can do.
“In Gordon’s eyes he’s not done enough yet to be in the starting line-up. But we do rate him and he’s got the opportunity to step up and show he can do it at this level.”
Whites chief McDermott is keeping his fingers crossed that McCormack returns unscathed along with several other United players, due to feature for their respective countries tomorrow.
Rudy Austin is part of Jamaican’s squad for their clash with neighbours Grenada, while Jack Butland has linked up with the England U21s, who take on Wales at Derby County.
Alex Mowatt is hoping to win a belated first international cap for England U19s against Turkey in Chester, with Marius Zaliukas part of Lithuania’s squad for their friendly in Kazakhstan.
McDermott is hoping to bring in a loan addition before this weekend’s home clash with Bolton Wanderers, with some national reports suggesting Leeds along with several other Championship clubs have missed out on signing Chelsea youngster Nathan Ake.