Russell Martin proud of Scotland call-up
Having taken a long and unusual path to international football, full-back Russell Martin aims to keep working hard to remain in the Scotland squad.
The 25-year-old dealt with rejection at hometown club Brighton before working his way back up the career ladder to Norwich, via non-league side Lewes.
"I'm glad I had to work hard for it, I really appreciate the fact that it hasn't just fallen for me," he said.
"Hopefully I am now starting to reap the benefits of all that hard work."
The defender, who qualifies through his Scottish father, moved from Lewes in the Isthmian League Division One South to Wycombe Wanderers and then Peterborough United, before he ended up at Carrow Road.
Having won promotion to the English Premier League with the Canaries, he has been selected by Scotland boss Craig Levein for the Carling Nations Cup games against Wales and Republic of Ireland in Dublin this week.
"I was 17 when it didn't quite work out for me at Brighton," explained Martin.
"I went to play for Lewes for half a season. That was really good for me but thankfully I worked my way up pretty quickly and I signed for Wycombe the following season when I was 18.
"I only started playing right-back when I was 21 or 22 at Wycombe.
"Before that I played everywhere, which was great for my development."
Martin played every minute of the successful league campaign Norwich had but he is certainly not complaining about two more games being added to his schedule.
"It's been a great season and I thoroughly enjoyed it," he added.
"What I achieved down the road was great and to get a call-up was great and I am pleased to be here.
"I played for England schools at Under-18 level and there was a talk of a Scotland Under-21 call-up a few years ago but I was a bit too old so that was disappointing.
"But I'm quite glad this has happened now.
"It is an honour for me and I look forward to getting going and if I continue to work hard hopefully it won't stop there."
Martin revealed his Celtic-supporting dad was delighted with the news of his call-up for the games at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday and Sunday.
"My dad was born here and still has family here," he said. "He went south when he was fairly young but he sees himself as Scottish and he is extremely proud.
"He used to come up with my junior football teams in the summer for the Ayr Youth Cup and tie that in with seeing family.
"He would also come up and watch Celtic a fair bit.
"I think it was a bit of surprise because, although my manager at Norwich spoke to me a month or two ago, I didn't even mention it to be honest.
"I just thought if it happened it would be great but tried not to get too excited about it. When it came to telling my family I was delighted."