Huge Scotland games whet Russell Martin’s Premier League appetite

Russell Martin enjoyed his latest stint with the Scotland set up. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA

Russell Martin enjoyed his latest stint with the Scotland set up. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA - Credit: PA

Being involved in Scotland's high-profile derby matches has added fresh impetus to Russell Martin's drive to become a top-flight player again.

Norwich City's captain starred in his country's vital 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying victory over the Republic of Ireland on Friday and performed admirably during a 3-1 friendly loss to England four days later. Both clashes were full-blooded affairs at a racuous Celtic Park and locking horns with stars like Wayne Rooney has reminded the defender why he is so desperate to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.

The 28-year-old said: 'The England game, they're littered with Premier League players and Champions League players, it's just that level above.

'The Championship is a really good league but of course you notice it when you're playing against them players, it's the pinnacle and it's where you want to play. Every player in the dressing room (at Norwich) will say the same thing and if they're not then they're in the wrong place.

'Of course it whets your appetite but there's also a sense of frustration that you're not playing against them week in and week out. We have to work extremely hard in this league to make sure we're doing that again next season.'

Those glamour fixtures prove that the Canaries skipper – set to make his 200th appearance for the club against his boyhood side Brighton this afternoon – has come a long way since he failed to make the grade on the south coast.

Prior to spells with Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United and his arrival at Carrow Road, Martin failed to fulfil his ambition of becoming a professional with the Seagulls.

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'I did enjoy playing for my hometown team for a bit. I thought I was going to get taken on and I didn't,' said the Scotland international.

'It's probably been a big part of my career that I've wanted to go and prove the people wrong that didn't want me to play for my hometown team. It's worked out for the best in the end. There's no hard feelings, it's just the way football is. I grew up supporting them us a boy, it's my hometown team, but come today it means absolutely nothing. I want them to do well, but not at the expense of us and certainly not this afternoon. But after that I wish them all the best.

'I think the more you play as a professional you lose an affinity to a team really because the affinity lays with the team you're playing for at that current point. I've spent just over five years here now and loved it and at this minute in time it's my club and hopefully we'll beat them.'

Martin signed for Norwich in 2010 from Peterborough, having initially featured for the club on loan.