Watt keen to follow in the footsteps of Rhodes
TONY Watt believes he can follow in Jordan Rhodes’ footsteps and help Scotland reach the European Championships.
The Celtic striker bagged his fourth goal in just six Under-21 appearances in Corinth this week as he helped the young Scots secure a battling 1-1 draw in Greece.
Watt was impressive and he caused the Greeks no end of problems playing as a lone striker. Under-21 manager Billy Stark has backed 19-year-old Watt to help fill the void created by the loss of Blackburn Rovers star Rhodes, who is now a major player in Gordon Strachan’s new senior squad. And with the first qualifier for the Euro 2015 Finals in the Czech Republic looming next month against Luxembourg, Watt is hoping he can kick on and grab goals for Scotland, just like Rhodes, who ended his Under-21 record with eight goals in eight games.
Watt – who famously scored in Celtic’s Champions League victory over Barcelona – was pleased by Stark’s comparison with the £8 million player.
He said: “That’s nice to hear that. The guy’s a goalscorer, isn’t he? If you are fit and doing well, you get a chance to play. The manager knows what I can bring to the team so hopefully I can kick on.
“I’m probably one of the younger ones in the squad, though. Rory McKenzie is a good striker, too. He ran the line well and won us the penalty in Greece.
“Hopefully I can score a few more goals for the Under-21s, but it’s a lose-lose situation because if I score goals it’s expected and if I don’t score goals I’m going to get slaughtered! I like showing people I’m good enough to be here so hopefully I can keep doing that.”
Watt had a tiring shift in Greece on an energy-sapping pitch, but got his rewards when he started and finished the move that got a threadbare Scots squad, containing two debut boys, their equaliser when he smashed home a penalty.
He has not had the best of times recently at Parkhead and his start against Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup win at the weekend was his first since Boxing Day. He admitted he found the going tough in Greece.
Watt explained: “I kind of reserved myself because I’m not up to match fitness at the moment. I’ve had some time out as I’ve not been playing many matches because obviously the way it has worked out.
“I like the lone striker role when I’m fully fit because you can buzz about and go into channels, but we couldn’t get the balls in the channels here because it would stick as the grass was too long. It was like Raith at the weekend – it needed a bit of water on it.
“We did all right, though, considering the pitch and the weather.”
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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