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Burke is keen to fight way back into Scotland mix


High aims: Oliver Burke has set sights on a Scotland recall
High aims: Oliver Burke has set sights on a Scotland recall

By Gavin McCafferty

Oliver Burke is eager to get back on the Scotland trail as he rejuvenates his club career at Celtic.

The 21-year-old West Brom attacker joined the Parkhead side on loan until the end of the season in January and has made an immediate impact, featuring in all five games since the turn of the year and scoring twice in the 4-0 home win over St Mirren.

Burke won the last of his five Scotland caps under former national team boss Gordon Strachan in a 1-1 friendly draw with Canada back in March 2017 and dropped back to captain the Under-21s in the Toulon tournament last summer.

He is aware that Alex McLeish will soon be choosing his squad for the 2020 European Championship qualifying double-header in March against Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Ahead of the home game against Hibernian at Parkhead tonight, Burke said: "I am really eager. It is something I have my eyes set on and I really want to be back involved with it but we will see what happens.

"I have to perform and I have to show that I am capable of playing international first-team football.

"I am focused at club level. It is definitely a huge platform here. It is an amazing club and an amazing achievement for me.

"I feel privileged and proud to be wearing the jersey and to be stepping out there. It is an amazing feeling and I hope I can continue and keep giving my all."

After playing a peripheral role at West Brom following his move from RB Leipzig in 2017 for a reported fee of £15m, the most expensive Scottish footballer is glad to be getting game time at the Parkhead club.

He said: "Every footballer clearly wants to play and be stepping out on the pitch every week.

"When it is not you, you have to make sure you are ready when called upon so when your chance happens you are ready to help.

"We are on a great run and the lads are enjoying our football. Team morale is fantastic.

"Every game is a lesson for me and I am learning each day."

Meanwhile, recent signing Vakoun Issouf Bayo has been left out of Celtic's updated Europa League squad.

Uefa rules state clubs can only add three new players before the last 32 and Celtic have gone with on-loan Borussia Dortmund right-back Jeremy Toljan and forwards Burke and Timothy Weah.

Bayo is still getting up to fitness following his move from Slovakian side Dunajska Streda.

Celtic host Valencia on February 14 in the first leg of their knockout tie.

Celtic vs Hibernian

Scottish Premiership

Parkhead, Tonight, 7.45pm

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