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Armstrong on the ball

By April 6, 2017No Comments

Stuart Armstrong’s Scotland debut was the best Gordon Strachan had ever seen but the Celtic midfielder is not taking future caps for granted.

The 25-year-old, who was named the Ladbrokes Premiership player of the month for March on Thursday, earned high praise from the national team boss when he recently donned dark blue for the first time in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Slovenia at Hampden Park.

Armstrong also scored his 13th goal of the season in the 5-0 thumping of Hearts on Sunday, which clinched the Hoops’ sixth consecutive title, and admitted to being in the best form of his career.

Asked if he was confident of being in Strachan’s squad for the World Cup qualifier against England at Hampden Park in June, the former Scotland Under-21 player said: “Maybe, maybe.

“I will have to make sure my form at Celtic keeps up and chip in with a few goals and we will wait and see.

“It was a very nice compliment and obviously being my first appearance I wanted it to be good and to do well and to take something from the game.

“I managed to achieve that so it is a very nice debut.”

Armstrong, who signed from Dundee United in February 2015, is still “looking at” extending his contract with Celtic which expires in 2018.

However, he stressed his happiness under Brendan Rodgers, who has employed him in his favoured central-midfield role since taking over as Parkhead boss last summer.

Armstrong said: “It is important to say that I am very happy here and I am playing the best football I have ever played and very lucky to be playing under Brendan Rodgers.

“The influence he has had in a very short space of time is phenomenal.

“I am sure it (contract) will take care of itself but my focus has always been on playing football and focusing on the next game.

“This season has been the best of my career to date.

“I always talked about scoring more goals and I was disappointed with my contribution, last season especially.

“So to get back to scoring goals is what I enjoy most.

“The difference (moving to middle) has been a great influence. It is more natural for me to play and to get into goal-scoring positions especially.”

Armstrong played down his second player of the month award of the season, after also winning it in December.

He said: “It has been a very good month, with the Scotland experience and the league.

“I haven’t had a chance to think about it too much.

“The season is still on-going and we are still focused on finishing the league strongly but when the season is over I will look back and I am sure there will be some highlights.”