Belfast Telegraph

Chris Martin has found his paradise with Scotland

By Gavin McCafferty

Chris Martin felt he was "fortunate" to start Scotland's opening World Cup qualifier - but the show of faith and his subsequent goal has helped the striker feel he belongs in the national team.

Martin was surprisingly handed the lone striker role in Malta ahead of Steven Fletcher after Leigh Griffiths' injury.

The 27-year-old responded with a goal in the 5-1 victory in what was only his third start in nine international appearances.

Now he feels better about his place in Gordon Strachan's squad ahead of the double-header against Lithuania and Slovakia.

"I think I was perhaps a little bit fortunate to start the last game," said Martin, who joined Fulham on loan from Derby days before the Malta clash.

"I felt like I did okay, I managed to score and won the penalty for us. We will have to wait and see what the manager thinks but hopefully I have done enough."

When asked why he felt fortunate to start, Martin said: "I wasn't expecting it. There were other people who were in line who were just as deserving to start.

"Leigh was unfortunate with the injury, especially with the start to the season he has had and how he played last season.

"That was the next step in my international career. I had been on the periphery in terms of the amount of games I had played. That was the next step and hopefully I can build on that now.

"I feel comfortable here now and hopefully that's going to show in performances."

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