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Scotland coach Peter Grant backs Tom Cairney to make big impact for national side

Scotland coach Peter Grant believes Tom Cairney can start to thrive for his national side
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Scotland coach Peter Grant insists players such as Tom Cairney can excite the nation.

Cairney made his second Scotland appearance in the friendly defeat by Costa Rica in March and struggled to bring his Fulham form to the international stage, losing possession several times and being slow to track his runner as the visitors scored the only goal.

But Grant, who spent four years coaching at Fulham until last week, is convinced the 27-year-old midfielder has plenty to offer Scotland if utilised in the right way.

Scotland coach Peter Grant believes Tom Cairney can start to thrive for his national side

Scotland coach Peter Grant believes Tom Cairney can start to thrive for his national side

Cairney was named in a largely inexperienced squad for next month’s double header against Belgium and Albania with Grant sure manager Alex McLeish and the coaching staff can shape a team to make an impact.

Grant said: ‘The biggest skill he’s got is the fact he is comfortable in possession of the ball. Fulham play in a certain style, they have done it for the last few years, and Tom fits into it fantastically well. 

‘He is very much a creator of opportunities, he is also a goalscorer and he has proved that over the past couple of years – player of the year and Championship team of the year.

‘I think the Costa Rica game, we didn’t see the best of him. You need people running by Tom so he can step in and get on the ball. We have got to build a team round about the facts that help these guys be at their best.

‘To create space, other people have got to move out your space, and give the ball early. He picks up fantastic spaces between the lines and turns and faces the opposition. 

‘In that particular game we didn’t do that quickly enough, we passed square first half. To get the best out of Tom you have to have the right players round about him, and that’s what we think we have.

‘He is more than capable and the great thing he is playing at the highest level, playing against top international players week in, week out. That can only make you think better. 

‘He is training with a group of players now at Fulham which is much stronger than last season, we spent £104million.

‘So all of a sudden you are playing against better players in training and you have to make sure you are in the team week in, week out.

‘He is more than capable of playing at the highest level. Hopefully we can see the best of him and that’s what we are going to try to achieve. When these guys are playing at their best, they are very exciting players and players that the fans will love.’

Tom Cairney has emerged as a key player for Fulham in their rise to the Premier League

Tom Cairney has emerged as a key player for Fulham in their rise to the Premier League

Tom Cairney has emerged as a key player for Fulham in their rise to the Premier League

With James McArthur and Robert Snodgrass making themselves temporarily unavailable for Scotland and other experienced players missing out, Grant believes the younger players can add a vitality to the team.

‘The trip to Peru and Mexico was fantastic for us with the camaraderie of the group and what they represented over there. 

‘It was brilliant to watch, and we saw an enthusiasm over there with this young group that wanted to play for Scotland. And that is massive.

‘Money means nothing to a lot of these guys these days because some have got so much of it they could live for the rest of the days without kicking another ball. 

‘The fact they want to come and pull on the jersey is fantastic and that enthusiasm should never leave.’ 


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