Kirk welcomes Northern Irish invasion of the SPL and eyes a country call-up

With an increasingly large slice of his homeland’s talent gracing the SPL, Andy Kirk admits he is casting glances back across the water to Northern Ireland as he bids to prolong his international career.

The Dunfermline striker has seen Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who he will come up against when their teams meet at Parkhead on Wednesday, joined in Scotland by Kenny Shiels at Kilmarnock and, most recently, Steve Lomas at St Johnstone.

With Michael O’Neill having been mentioned as a possible successor to Colin Calderwood at Hibs, and the likes of Steve Davis, Kyle Lafferty, Paddy McCourt, Dean Shiels and Ivan Sproule all turning out on the pitch, the province is enjoying a burgeoning presence in Scottish football.

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“It’s great to see my fellow countrymen coming over to the SPL,” said Kirk, who arrived in Scotland when he signed for Hearts from Glentoran in 1999. “Obviously, on a personal level, it’s good to see players and anybody else doing well from Northern Ireland.

“There have been a lot of good players through the years. Neil [Lennon] was a class player, Steve Lomas was a class player. They’ve played at the highest level and it gives you encouragement that boys from Northern Ireland are doing well, not only as players but on the management side of it as well.”

The last of Kirk’s ten caps for his country came in a friendly against the Czech Republic in 2009, but the 32-year-old has not given up hope of more. .

“If someone else comes in and I get a chance to go and have another crack at it then I’ll take that hurdle when it comes. But we’ll see who gets the job and see what their plans are, you never know.”