“I probably should have stuck in a bit more at school but the only thing I had in my mind was to play football,” Norwich City star Robert Snodgrass goes back to his old school
Norwich City winger Robert Snodgrass is adamant Scotland are not just going along for the ride as he looks forward to the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Craig Levein's side face Serbia at Hampden Park on Saturday, then play Macedonia on Tuesday night in the second of their home double-header in Group A.
They also have to negotiate Belgium, Croatia and Wales if they are to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup in France. It is a tough-looking task for the Tartan Army, but, speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall training base on the outskirts of Glasgow, Snodgrass said their sights were on qualification for the finals in Brazil.
'The best countries in the world go and do it every time they are called upon,' he said. 'We are not here to make up the numbers. There is a firm belief that we can pick up maximum points and qualify.'
Snodgrass has begun the season well for the Canaries since his summer move from Leeds, scoring his first Premier League goal in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham.
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Snodgrass, above, who will be 25 on Friday, will be looking to add to his six Scotland caps in the first two qualifiers.
'There is a good mood about the camp, there always has been every time I have been here,' he said. 'We have a job to do as footballers and we will approach each game thinking we can win it. It starts on Saturday and everybody is raring to go.'
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Meanwhile, yesterday the Norwich star was back at his old school St Mungo's Academy in the East End of Glasgow for an SFA and Vauxhall initiative aimed at getting more 12 to 18 year olds playing football.
He told the Daily Record: 'Yesterday brought back loads of different memories. It was good to see some old faces – and some old teachers as well.
'My PE teacher Mr Shields helped me along the way and it's not often you get a lad from the East End pushing through and making it in football.
'At that time, I was breaking into the SPL with Livingston and he tried to do the best for me on the footballing side.
'In terms of other 'school stuff', I don't have too many good memories! I was never inside the class. I was always out in the corridor.
'But I made some friends for life at school. Your family always say you'll miss it and I do. You don't realise until it's gone how good a time you had there.
'My nephew, Thomas, is at the school now and was speaking to the same English teacher I had.
'Thomas told him I was his uncle and he asked if I was quite clever. The teacher said 'Robert was cleverer than me as I didn't think he'd make it in football'.
'There are only a handful of players that get a chance so I think I'm very fortunate to be where I am now.
'I probably should have stuck in a bit more at school but the only thing I had in my mind was to play football.
'If it hadn't worked out for me I wouldn't have had a lot to fall back on. After PE my favourite subject was maths, I could do numbers.
'However, as soon as it got to times tables, I was done-in, finished. PE was the only time they ever saw me.
'Back then I was young and naive. If I had gone down the wrong path, it would have been away from football.
'Sometimes you don't really have the guidance and advice to help you along the way. But eventually you start to develop and learn.
'You start to become a man, really. You realise fast what it's all about especially when you move down south. It's a case of growing up.'