Kevin Thomson says he would play under Collins

KEVIN Thomson would happily bury the hatchet with John Collins should his one-time nemesis be appointed manager of Scotland and believes whoever succeeds George Burley should display a similar willingness to let bygones be bygones.

The news that Collins, who stripped Thomson of the captaincy at Hibs as the pair's relationship deteriorated acrimoniously before his transfer to Rangers, has thrown his hat in the ring for the Scotland vacancy would hardly be expected to be greeted with enthusiasm by the 25-year-old midfielder.

But Thomson insists he would be fully committed to the international cause under any manager and has called on the new man to begin with a clean slate which would allow the exiled trio of Barry Ferguson, Allan McGregor and Kris Boyd to be recalled to the squad.

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"I'm one of those boys who move on," said Thomson. "I'm humble. The way it ended for me at Hibs, the way John Collins and I didn't see eye to eye, was just one of those things that happen in football. I've learned from it.

"I probably said a few things I shouldn't have. I'm pretty sure he would say the same. At the end of the day, if he was the Scotland manager I would never hide the fact that I'm dying to play for my country. It's irrelevant who gets the job for me.

"If he never picked me, it would just be one of those things. I've been in youth teams before and not been picked by the manager, I've been put on the bench at Ibrox. If he put me in his squad, I would show my desire and willingness to pull up my sleeves and work hard for Scotland. If he didn't want to pick me, that would be his opinion. I think it's important the new manager is allowed to pick who he wants."

As far as Thomson is concerned, that should include Rangers goalkeeper McGregor and Birmingham City midfielder Ferguson, both banned indefinitely by the SFA following the 'Boozegate' fiasco earlier this year, and Ibrox striker Boyd who withdrew his services under Burley's management after being left on the bench for the 0-0 draw at home to Norway in the dismal World Cup qualifying campaign.

"With Barry and Allan, I think it was just a case of wrong time and wrong place," added Thomson. "It was a wee bit frustrating and I think it could have been handled a wee bit better on all sides. They got the punishment some people thought they deserved. The club and the nation have had to move on.

"At the end of the day, they are both top players. Allan is the best goalie I have ever worked with. He is absolutely fantastic. So if Scotland want to have any success, they really should have their best players playing. That's not anything against Craig Gordon, he is a top goalie as well. But one top goalie pushing another top goalie can only be good for Scotland and bring the best out of both of them.

"Allan is a top guy. What he did, he knew it was wrong. He apologised for it. Everyone in life, whether you are a footballer or in any line or work, should be given a second chance. He has been given a second chance at Rangers and his form has been fantastic this season. For me, he is the best goalie Scotland have got. It's the same for Fergie. I always stood by him and enjoyed playing alongside him at Rangers. He is down at Birmingham doing really well now and is proving to everyone again how good a player he is. Up here, if Fergie never got a nine out of 10 every week, people got frustrated with him. But if he was invited back, I'm sure he would be honoured and take the opportunity. If we can get all of our best players playing, we would be a different team. Kris Boyd is one of the best strikers in the country and Fergie is one of the best midfielders. So there are players who, for certain circumstances, are not playing for the national team. If the new manager picks his best players, Scotland could have a good team. It is something people could get excited about, with the younger players coming through as well."

Thomson's own commitment to the Scotland cause under Burley has been questioned. Named in six squads during the now former manager's tenure, he withdrew from five of them because of a variety of ailments, winning his only senior cap so far in the 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland at Hampden in August 2008. He insists, however, that no-one is more frustrated than he is about his failure to establish himself as a full international player, pointing to his experience of serious injuries for appreciation of what he has missed out on.

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"People make a big scene about how many players withdraw from squads," he said. "But if you're not fit, then you're not fit. It would be a poor situation to be in if players were throwing in injuries as excuses because they don't want to travel anywhere.

"I've learned, through having two serious injuries and missing a lot of football, that I want to play in every game. I don't think there is another player in the SPL who has had two cruciate ligament injuries. One in a career is quite bad luck, to have suffered two in five or six years speaks volumes as to how unlucky I have been.

It is frustrating that every time a Scotland squad comes around I either get a bug or a niggle. It's been the same with Rangers. I missed the Old Firm game because of a niggle and then missed the last game before this international break with a bug. So I'm missing out on both levels at the moment.

"If you are Scottish and eligible to play international football, I think playing for your country should be the pinnacle of your career. I've got one cap and I'm now 25. Scott Brown and I were almost in the same situation, we both got in the Hibs team together and both moved on at roughly the same time. Now he has 20 caps and I have one. To say that is frustrating would be an understatement. But he has 20 caps because he is a top player and I hope I can fall into that bracket as well."

Thomson, who made his latest return to action by playing 45 minutes of a reserve friendly against Dundee United at Murray Park yesterday morning, also responded to claims by former Scotland midfielder Craig Burley that the current squad lacked the intelligence to understand the instructions they received from his uncle George.

"I only played once for George Burley, so it would be unfair for me to say that his instructions were not listened to or whatever," said Thomson. "I played 45 minutes against Northern Ireland and thought I did quite well for my first cap. Everything that he asked in the couple of days leading up to the game, I felt as though I did. So you would need to ask one of the more regular players if the instructions he gave them were basically thrown back in his face."

• KEVIN THOMSON was speaking at the launch of an Old Firm social inclusion initiative with Royal Strathclyde Blind industries (RSBi) which will see plaques commemorating the bi-centenary of the birth of Braille inventor Louis Braille fixed to the walls of Ibrox and Celtic Park.