Martin will use hurt of missing Euros to fuel World Cup bid

Scotland's Russell Martin. Picture; John DevlinScotland's Russell Martin. Picture; John Devlin
Scotland's Russell Martin. Picture; John Devlin
Russell Martin wants Scotland to use the hurt felt from failure to qualify for Euro 2016 to inspire the team to Russia 2018.

The Scots were the only country from the British Isles absent from this summer’s Euros after finishing fourth in their qualifying group behind Germany, Poland and Republic of Ireland from whom they took four out of six points.

The quest to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1998 resumes with the opening 2018 World Cup qualifier in Malta on Sunday and the 30-year-old Norwich defender believes recent pain can be used in a positive way by Gordon Strachan’s men.

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He said: “I think so, especially after watching the tournament in the summer, I still think we should have been there.

“It was frustrating and it certainly drives you on.

“To be that close to it, it has to, you have to turn that hurt into something and create something out of it, and hopefully we will do that this campaign. We were one win away and that hurt all of us.

“I don’t think people again expect us to be there [Russia] but maybe we are better like that, when people don’t expect it.

“We will have a right go, it’s as simple as that, like we did the last time. We came a little bit short hopefully this time we will take it all the way and do it. We go into it full of positivity. It is a fresh challenge, a new challenge. We are looking forward to it.

“You want to get off to a strong start. We are away from home, there is no easy games at this level but it is one we are looking forward to.”

Scotland also have to face England, Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania with only the section winner guaranteed their place in Russia.

Strachan’s side drew twice with Poland and were beaten by a single goal twice against Germany in the last campaign and Martin concedes that more points have to be garnered from good performances this time.

The former Peterborough United player said: “It is fine margins. We put in a lot of good performances over the last campaign but against the bigger teams we have to turn these performances into points, it is as simple as that.

“Republic of Ireland did and that was the difference in that campaign.

“It is a new campaign, a fresh start and we are all excited about it.

“We will go there to Malta and try to win.”