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Scotland snub hurt but it’s good to be back, says City ace

PUBLISHED: 10:25 09 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:25 09 September 2018

Steven Naismith battles with Jan Vertonghen during Scotland's friendly defeat to Belgium. Picture: PA

Steven Naismith battles with Jan Vertonghen during Scotland's friendly defeat to Belgium. Picture: PA

PA Wire

Steven Naismith admits he took being dropped from the Scotland squad hard during his miserable spell at Norwich City.

Steven Naismith in action for Scotland against Belgium on Friday night. Picture: PASteven Naismith in action for Scotland against Belgium on Friday night. Picture: PA

The 31-year-old’s form with Hearts since joining the Edinburgh side on a season-long loan in the summer has since earned a recall under new Scotland boss Alex McLeish.

Naismith, signed by City in an £8.5m deal from Everton in January 2016, played the second half of Scotland’s 4-0 defeat to Belgium at Hampden Park on Friday night.

Despite the result Naismith insisted that it’s great to be back in the Scotland fold.

“To be honest, the last few days since I met up with the rest of the boys have been fantastic,” said the forward, who is out of contract at Carrow Road next summer.

“During the summer and in the last campaign, when I wasn’t really involved, I did take it hard.

“But I’m back playing at club level and the manager spoke to me and said he did see me becoming involved again.

“I’ve just got to work hard and since I’ve been here I’ve loved every minute of it.

“The new set-up means we effectively have two chances to qualify for this tournament.

“You’ve got to be positive about that because it gives you a better chance.”

Teemu Pukki is enjoying his time away with Finland as he got the seventh-minute winner in Finland’s 1-0 win over Hungary in the Uefa Nations League. The 28-year-old played the full 90 minutes and could be in action again on Tuesday when Finland face Estonia at home.

Jamal Lewis played all of Northern Ireland’s Uefa Nations League defeat to Bosnia Herzegovina at Windsor Park whilst Michael McGovern was an unused substitute with Leeds goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell preferred. Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has earmarked Lewis as a star of the future and is likely to turn to the youngster once again when they take on Israel on Tuesday evening.

Timm Klose was an unused substitute for Switzerland’s 6-0 win over Iceland.

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