Naismith: Scotland will wait on Gauld call-up

SCOTLAND striker Steven Naismith does not expect to see new Sporting Lisbon signing Ryan Gauld rushed into Gordon Strachan’s set-up.

Naismith spoke after unveiling a sponsorship deal with his former boys club, Stewarton Annick. Picture: SNS.

The 18-year-old Gauld earned himself a surprise £3 million move to the Portuguese giants following his impressive rise from the Dundee United youth ranks to become the Tannadice outfit’s highly-rated playmaker.

His new club have already slapped a £47.8million release clause into the Scotland Under-21 international’s contract.

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But Naismith reckons it will be a while yet before he is lining up alongside the teenager for Strachan’s full national side as the Dark Blues boss handles Gauld with kid gloves.

The Everton forward said: “The manager is not daft. He will have watched Ryan and will know when he is ready to be put into the first team.

“The move that he has got is fully deserved having seen the way he has played.

“It’s a great move, especially when you look at the players who have come through at Sporting and done tremendously well. It’s great to see some young Scottish talent taking the plunge and going abroad and having no fear about it.

“It’s exciting times for him and I’m sure in the next couple of years Ryan will definitely be involved in the national team in one way or another.”

Unless Gauld makes major strides in his first few months in Lisbon, it is unlikely he will play any part as the Scots kick-off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

The Tartan Army will descend on Dortmund on September 7 when Scotland open their Group D campaign away to Germany.

But the size of the task facing the team has been illustrated by Germany’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in Brazil.

They face the hosts on Tuesday night looking to claim a place in Sunday’s final but Naismith is not fazed by the prospect of taking on the potential world champions.

The 27-year-old said: “We know how good Germany are. Their club sides as well as the national team have been at the top of the pile for a few years now.

“We knew facing them in the Euros was going to be a test but it’s been really drummed in by how well they have done in Brazil.

“With the climate over there, the European teams were always going to be at a disadvantage but Germany have not looked out of place. They will be the favourites to win it.”

While Toffees team-mates Tim Howard, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas all jetted out for action in Brazil, Naismith has been forced to watch on from his living room.

However, Naismith is convinced Scotland’s 16-year wait for a major finals will end soon.

“All the Scottish boys that I have spoken to are all gutted not to be out in Brazil,” said the 29-cap frontman. “They’ve all said: ‘How amazing would it be to be there?’

“When we get back to training with Everton we will all be asking the lads who were over there what it was like.

“But for us in the Scotland squad, we just need to look forward. The last 18 months we have progressed very well. We’ve got to believe.

“Reaching a major finals definitely is doable.

“We have the Euros in France to look forward to. We have seen all the players who have played at these tournaments and we want to do that too.”

The former Kilmarnock player was speaking after he returned to Ayrshire to unveil his sponsorship deal with Stewarton Annick, the boys club where he started out as a six-year-old.

And he reckons the return journey made by former Rangers team-mates Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller will put the Ibrox side back on track.

Naismith - who quit the Light Blues after they were liquidated back in 2012 - said: “They will be massive pluses for Rangers, not only for their goals and the way they play but for the younger players who will learn from their experience.

“I’ve not played with too many better strikers than the two of them and that will go a long way with the kids at Rangers.

“In the short term, the Championship is a tough league, so their experience will help the club make that final step back to where they want to be.”