Hamilton's Martin Canning tips Ali Crawford for Scotland cap

By John BarnesBBC Scotland
Ali Crawford scored for Hamilton against Rangers in their opening league game of the season
Ali Crawford scored for Hamilton against Rangers in their opening league game of the season

Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning is backing star midfielder Ali Crawford to one day receive a call-up to the Scotland national squad.

Crawford, who has scored six goals this season, is once again proving to be a key player for Accies.

But Canning believes it may take a move away from the Lanarkshire club for the 25-year-old to be recognised eventually at international level.

"I think it happened with James McArthur," said Canning.

"He was obviously performing well for us, but he then moved to Wigan and the next week he was in the Scotland squad. It does happen but then again that's part of football. We are a small club but we try and do things right."

McArthur has accumulated 24 caps for his country since leaving Accies and Canning feels Crawford has the ability to follow that example.

"I think he should be aiming as high as he can," said the manager.

"We talk about him every transfer window - 'Is Ali going to go or is he going to stay?' - and he's still here.

Greg Docherty in action for Hamilton
Greg Docherty made his debut for Hamilton just after his 17th birthday

"It speaks a lot for him and his attitude because he just keeps his head down, keeps himself to himself, continually works hard and every season produces for us.

"If he can continue to score goals again this season then we'll see what happens in January or at the end of the season.

"As a club we take pride in good young players coming through that move on and go and earn good money and have a good life for themselves, but we don't push them out the door.

"We're fortunate to have him just now. He's doing well for us and hopefully one day he'll get an opportunity to play for Scotland and move on to the Premier League or Championship down south and earn life-changing money."

Crawford is not the only player at Accies that the manager says deserves international recognition.

Midfielder Greg Docherty and striker Eamonn Brophy are two others he feels should be involved at Under-21 level under new boss Scot Gemmill.

"I tried to phone Scott Gemmill with regards young Greg Docherty and Eamonn Brophy. They don't get a look-in for the Under-21s and Greg's played 50 games in the Premiership," continued Canning.

"We talked the last time about Chris Cadden at Motherwell being left out the squad.

"There was a big uproar over Cadden, but nobody even mentioned Greg Docherty's name.

"He's played 50 games in the Premiership and he's 19. Eamonn Brophy is the same, he's played maybe 25 games and more than that when you consider the Championship as well.

"They just have to keep working hard and hope the boys get those opportunities."

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