Scott Booth backs Hibs hitman Marc McNulty to make Scotland debut

Scott Booth says Hibs' Marc McNulty is the forward in form. Picture: Steve Welsh
Scott Booth says Hibs' Marc McNulty is the forward in form. Picture: Steve Welsh
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Former Aberdeen and Scotland forward Scott Booth believes that Marc McNulty should become the first Hibernian striker to play for Scotland in almost a decade.

The 26-year-old, signed on loan from Championship strugglers Reading in January, has subsequently scored seven goals in nine games.

Booth claims that, in the absence of Celtic’s Leigh 
Griffiths, who is taking a break from the game and Steven Fletcher of Sheffield Wednesday, who is managing a knee injury, McNulty should be handed his international debut. The last Hibs frontman to represent the national team was Derek Riordan, who played in the 3-0 defeat by Wales in Cardiff on November 14, 2009 but Booth believes that McNulty deserves to start ahead of Celtic’s Oliver Burke.

“Well, he can play up front and he can also play wide but the one player who can hold the ball up and who’s also scoring goals is McNulty,” he said.

“For me, this is probably a chance to play someone where the type of game – certainly in Kazakhstan anyway – is going to suit him.

“He can also bring the confidence which comes with scoring goals into the team.

“I don’t believe there’s a hell of a lot between the strikers in the squad and they all have different qualities. Ideally, you’d have one player who combines all those different facets but McNulty is the one who’s finding the net regularly.

“Burke brings something different with his pace and he can play in different positions but McNulty would be better at bringing others into the game and he’ll also get into the box to get on the end of things.”

The fact that McNulty has never featured at this level before should not prevent him being given the nod. Booth said: “I totally agree with Alex McLeish, who points out that you’ve got to start somewhere and the position he’s currently in – with injuries and so many new faces and a lack of experience – means that he’s going to have to give someone an opportunity here.

“Of course, you never know how it’s going to go but, after these next two games, it may well be that we’ve come out with a player who’s scored a couple of goals and given us a different option going forward – and right now we need all the options we can get.

“It would be a fairytale for Mark as well but that’s part of the story of this squad.

“There are a lot of players who’ve worked really hard and haven’t come through the system which was in place when I was playing.

“Back then you’d sign for a big club and you’d progress from the ranks to the first team and then the Scotland Under-21s and then the full team,” added Booth.

“However, a lot of the lads in this squad have been through a lot of twists and turns to get there and we’ve had to wait a while for them to come on the radar.

“But when you have a player like Mark who’s in form and confident, there’s no fear for him.”

l Scott Booth was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is a proud sponsor of Scottish football.