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Chris Martin saves Scotland WC hopes

last updated Monday 27th March 2017, 1:16 PM


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Fulham striker Chris Martin
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IT will take a few weeks before Scotland and Fulham striker Chris Martin comes to realise what he did at Hampden Park last night.

With one swing of his left boot the striker kept alive a World Cup campaign which had appeared so dead with two minutes to go for the must-win of must win matches against Slovenia, saved Gordon Strachan’s job and maybe, just maybe, convinced his many detractors he’s worthy of a place in the Scotland squad.

Martin, a hugely likeable man, was an unlikely hero by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win which, if the Scots somehow scrape second place and into the play-off, will be seen as the pivotal moment.

There were actual boos when the striker took to the field, which was seriously poor.

“Listen, that’s up to them to judge. I’m not going to be one to tell them what they should think and how they should think," said Martin who would have been well within his rights to feel smug.

He said he never heard the jeers.

“Is that my most important goal? Ask me in a few weeks. I’ll have to think about it,” said Martin who looked remarkably calm given how jubilant the celebrations were only half an hour or so before.

“But it certainly feels massive because of the celebrations at the time but also when we got in the dressing room.

I understand how important it was for all of us. But it wasn’t about me. Whoever got that goal, we just had to win – at any cost."

Martin is well aware that he not every supporter’s idea of Joe Jordan reborn.

All he can do, and this is true for anyone player, is to do his best whenever he gets called up.

That he did on this dramatic occasion.

“I do my job and, if the manager keeps picking me, I’ll go out and score goals, be a major part of this squad,” said Martin.

“That’s all anyone in this squad thinks about. We’re extremely together and we back each other.

“I know I had the backing of the manager and the staff – but also all the lads.

Hopefully I’ve repaid their faith in me.

The manager obviously felt like I might pop up with a goal tonight.

I think I’ve been in just about every squad since he took over, so it is nice to score such an especially important goal.

“I have to be self-confident. Most players at this level will be. You have to carry that with you through your career. If I was worried about what other people thought, if I fretted about criticism, I probably wouldn’t be standing here in front of you tonight.

Listen, you have to be single-minded and have a focus. I have that.”

Asked if he was aware that Strachan’s job was on the line, Martin replied; "Those things are to be judged by other people.

He has shown extreme faith in me since he took over the job. Hopefully I can continue to repay that faith with more goals.

“I can’t repeat some of the expletives he came out with when he got to me. It was all hugs and smiles, congratulations in the dressing room, from the lads to me and from me to all the lads.

“I appreciate the work they all put in to get the victory. And it’s thoroughly deserved.”

Make no mistake, this was a huge moment for an international team playing in front of a quiet Hamden as apathy had descended.

“I think you could see from my celebrations afterwards that it was a massive moment.

There was probably a bit of relief in there after how the campaign had been going,” said Martin.

“But we can now take the positives out of it and move on with a bit of momentum into the England game now.”



















Source Neil Cameron at Herald Scotland

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