Tom Cairney keen to establish himself for Scotland after first call-up
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 21/03/17 6:29pm
Tom Cairney says he does not want to be a "flash in the pan" after his first Scotland call-up and is keen to establish himself in the national side.
The Fulham midfielder, who was born in Nottingham but qualifies through his Scottish father, has been included in Gordon Strachan's squad for the first time for the double-header against Canada and Slovenia, both Iive on Sky Sports, after previously representing his country at U19 and U21 level.
Cairney has helped the Cottagers push for a play-off place in the Sky Bet Championship this season and was delighted to finally get the call for Strachan's side, but is now keen to make sure he is part of the international set-up for years to come.
"I don't want to be a flash in the pan," Cairney said. "I want to be here for a number of years and a part of the squad for a number of years, as tough as that it is. Once I am in I would like to stay in if I can.
"I wanted it for a long time but to get the call-up was quite surprising in a way. I was waiting for international breaks and it has never happened so when it happened for the first time, no matter how the season has gone, is surprising.
"I thought it would happen at some stage, it is just nice that it is finally here. A few boys kept saying to me last season and this season 'when is it happening?' But obviously it is out of my hands. I did what I normally did and thankfully that is enough."
The former Hull and Blackburn player, who played alongside the likes of James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong and Jordan Rhodes in the national youth sides, has spent most of his life in England but feels fiercely Scottish.
He said: "I used to come up at half-term and visit my family in Uddingston in Glasgow and used to get Celtic kits. I have good memories. It is harder to come up these days being in London but I had very good times here.
"My dad, especially, is a big Scotland fan and as soon as I got called up it was a proud moment for him."
Scotland vs Slovenia
March 26, 2017, 7:00pm
Scotland host Canada in a friendly at Easter Road on Wednesday before their pivotal Group F World Cup qualifier against Slovenia on Sunday and Cairney, who believes he is in the form of his career, says he is ready for the must-win Hampden fixture.
"I have never had a season as good as this one," he said. "I owe a lot to the manager [Slavisa Jokanovic] and staff as well for that but I feel confident and if the gaffer wants me to play I will be ready.
"A few managers over the past few seasons have played me on the right wing. I can play there but I never felt it was my strongest position. I have been playing in the middle of a three and it is more natural to my game. That is a big factor to my form this season and I have enjoyed it a lot."