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Rams star Chris Martin backs Johnny Russell for internationals

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

Derby's Chris Martin  scores from the penalty spot during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off, Semi Final match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 8, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Brighton. Photo credit should rea

Derby's Chris Martin scores from the penalty spot during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off, Semi Final match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 8, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Brighton. Photo credit should rea

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CHRIS Martin hopes international duty will help ease the pain of Derby County’s Wembley heartbreak.

The Rams striker was called up to the Scotland squad for the first time for tonight’s friendly against Nigeria at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

He is joined in the Scotland squad by Rams team-mates Craig Forsyth and Craig Bryson. Forsyth is also in the Scotland squad for the first time, while Bryson has already won two caps.

Martin – who qualifies for Scotland through his father, who was born and raised in Glasgow – is hoping the Rams trio get the chance to shine against Nigeria and put the memory of the Championship play-off final defeat by QPR behind them.

“I think it will help because the focus will be on that game,” said Martin.

“We won’t be dwelling on the disappointment of the Wembley defeat but it will still hurt for a long time to come, there is no way of getting away from that.

“We are a little bit fortunate in that we can focus on something else now and maybe take our minds off it a little bit.

“I’m very honoured to be called into the squad and I think it shows the season we have had as a team, to have three players in that squad. Hopefully we will all get on the park together and play some part.”

Martin is also hoping that the Rams’ Scottish international contingent can become a quartet in the future, with Johnny Russell getting a call-up.

Russell was in the Rams’ starting line-up at Wembley and drew the foul from Gary O’Neil that led to the QPR midfielder’s sending off in the 59th minute.

Martin thought Russell showed what a threat he can be against QPR and hopes he catches the eye of Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.

“It’s not for me to decide but what I will say is that he has been magnificent for us this season and I think he would handle it very well,” Martin said.

“You have seen again against QPR, he was very good.

“He won us the foul which led to the sending off and if it wasn’t for that he might have gone on to score.

“I think he has shown his quality throughout the season. I don’t see any reason why he won’t be able to cope with it.”

While Scotland is the immediate focus for Martin, he believes the Rams can look forward with optimism to next season.

And the Rams’ leading scorer highlights Leicester City, who lost in the play-off semi-finals to Watford in the 2012/13 season before bouncing back to win automatic promotion, as an example to give them hope.

“Leicester have done it this season,” Martin said.

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