HAVING worked so hard and waited so long to become Scotland’s first-choice goalkeeper, David Marshall is never likely to take his current status for granted.
But the man who has firmly established himself as his country’s No 1 under Gordon Strachan can sense that there are now fewer doubts from anyone that he deserves the jersey.
Marshall, pictured, has started every one of Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifying matches so far and is expected to be preferred by Strachan to both Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor again for Friday’s pivotal fixture against Georgia in Tbilisi. If the 30-year-old Cardiff City goalkeeper harbours any anxiety over his position, he disguises it well.
“I just kind of get on with it,” says Marshall with a shrug. “The gaffer will pick his team and that’s where it is.
“Obviously at the start of the campaign, it was a bigger question. But he’s stuck with myself and as long as I perform well and the team is winning, that’s all I can do. If you perform well, it takes all the question marks away. That’s all I can deal with as any other factors are outwith my control. So if I keep playing well and doing well, I think that answers it.
“I just wait for the team getting announced, whenever the gaffer announces it, every time. It’s usually the day before the game, so you never ever know beforehand if you are in the team.”
Marshall was an unused substitute for Scotland’s previous trip to Tbilisi eight years ago when Gordon was between the posts for the damaging 2-0 defeat which proved costly in a previously promising Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
Strachan’s men can ill afford to suffer a similar fate, especially in such a tightly-contested Group D in which all of their qualification rivals have taken maximum points in Tbilisi.
“I remember we’d just come off the back of beating Ukraine 3-1 at Hampden and our confidence was really, really high,” recalls Marshall.
“It was a shock to lose the game. But it’s something we can’t really speak about as a squad now, because there were only three or four of the lads who were involved back then. It will be a totally different game this time.
“We are positive about every game. The results have been good so far and we have got ourselves in a position where, if we can win a few more games, we will have a right good chance. But we know it can quickly turn the other way too. We’ve now got four games to go and by Monday, after the Germany game, we’ll have a clearer picture of where we stand.”
As ever this week, Marshall will room with his former Celtic team-mate, Shaun Maloney, while on international duty and he welcomes the influential attacking midfielder’s decision to leave Chicago Fire and return to British club football at Hull City.
“Shaun feels a bit more comfortable being back in the UK because it’s a lot of travelling over in the USA,” said Marshall. “Then when he gets back here, it takes him a couple of days to get back into the time zone.
“Did I notice him being tired during the recent international breaks? Well, he was sleeping for two days in a row the last time! But it’s just the catching up. In terms of performances, it’s not affected him so far.
“He’s been brilliant for us. He’s played really well and scored some great goals. The goal in Ireland in the summer was massive for us but so was the goal against Ireland at home. I expect him to be a big player again in our remaining games.”
• David Marshall was speaking at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge at his former primary school, St Thomas’s in Glasgow.