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  • Armstrong: I'm ready for international football

    Armstrong: I'm ready for international football

    By: Mark Henderson on 20 Mar, 2017 11:19

  • STUART Armstrong says he will be aiming to take his impressive club form into the international arena when he joins up with the Scotland squad today.

    The Celtic midfielder bagged his 12th goal of the season in Sunday’s 2-1 win away to Dundee to put the Hoops within one victory of a sixth successive title.

    It capped off another assured display from the 24-year-old, who has enjoyed a stellar season for Brendan Rodgers’ side, prompting a first call-up to Gordon Strachan’s side since August 2015.

    On that occasion, Armstrong had to withdraw due to injury, depriving him the chance of a first senior cap, but now he feels better equipped for the rigors of international football, particularly with his experience in the UEFA Champions League this season.  

    And he’s full of excitement at the prospect of featuring in Wednesday’s friendly with Canada at Easter Road or in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on Sunday. 

    “The last time I was called in was a while ago,” said Armstrong. “I had to pull out because of injury and it was a frustrating time. It has taken a while for me to get back in but that was in the past and this is now and I’m excited and looking forward to it.

    “I am very happy about it and my family are very proud and hopefully I will take my Celtic form and bring it into training this week. Every player wants to represent their country and I am sure it will be a special moment if I did pull on the jersey.

    “This season has been one of learning and European football has definitely helped that development. Playing in the Champions League against top quality players was a great experience and you learn a lot from big occasions like that. Playing in finals and in big occasions is definitely going to stand you in good stead.

    “I’m a little bit older and experienced, especially with the Champions League experience and its pressures, and accepting the pressures of winning every week with Celtic and being happy with that."

    Armstrong has thrived in his favoured central midfield position in the current campaign and he was keen to highlight the role Brendan Rodgers has played in his elevation to the Scotland setup.

    “He has been a huge influence on me personally,” he added. “At the start of the season, I was in and out and I had targets and goals to work for in training and bring that into the games.

    "Moving inside to central midfield has been a huge benefit for me. It’s more natural and where I feel I am at my best. It’s a combination of things but there is no doubting the influence the gaffer has had.”

    Thanks to Armstrong’s fine headed goal, which proved to be the winner at Dens Park, Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run this season to 36 matches.

    And they will be able to clinch the championship if they beat Hearts at Tynecastle in the first match after the international round of fixtures.

    “It’s another step closer but we never like thinking too far into the future,” added Armstrong. “We take each game as it comes as we always have this season and that’s worked very well for us."

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