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Scotland competitiveness has fans optimistic - Everton's Naismith

Everton striker Steven Naismith believes the competition in the Scotland squad has created a positive feeling ahead of the Euro2016 qualifying campaign.

Gordon Strachan has a number of options in most positions in his Scotland side, particularly up front according to Naismith.

The Toffees forward is jockeying for position with the likes of Leeds United captain Ross McCormack, Sunderland's Steven Fletcher and Celtic new boy Leigh Griffiths and he suggests that is healthy as the playing group prepares for their opening Euro qualifier against Germany in September.

"Actually, there is so much competition all over the pitch and I've said many times that this is as hard a Scotland squad to get in as there has ever been in my time," he told the Daily Record.

"There are quality players not in this squad who are desperate to get there. That raises optimism among the fans."

Naismith, who has appeared 28 times for Scotland, added that he feels so much more confident on the international scene since Gordon Strachan took the managerial reins in January last year.

"I feel good. In the last couple of months I've been involved quite a bit and I've done well," he added.

"The manager has played me more central and I've always said that's where I am most comfortable. Playing up front for Scotland was probably the start of other people noticing that I can do that.

"These days, especially when teams play one striker, a lot of people will look for size but I've always been confident I can play in that role.

"When the manager played me there against Macedonia it showed a lot of people that I can do that job. I also played against Croatia, scored and contributed again."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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