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Naismith declares himself fit to win 50th Scotland cap

Hearts striker will reach the half-century is he plays against Russia on Friday.

Naismith is ready for international action.
Naismith is ready for international action. SNS Group

Steven Naismith has declared himself fit for Scotland duty - despite having just nine minutes of football under his belt this season.

The Hearts striker will win his 50th international cap if he takes to the field against Russia in the Euro 2020 qualifier at Hampden on Friday.

The 32-year-old said reaching the half-century would be a "great honour" - but said it was more important to reach a major championships.

Scotland haven't qualified for a tournament since 1998 and Naismith is desperate to put that right.

He said: "It would be a great honour [to win a 50th cap]. I don't think that's at the front of my mind in terms of where we are at and where I'm at personally.

"It would be something I would probably look back on and scratch my head to say, 'How did I manage that?'.

"Even to get into your 40s in terms of caps, that was something I never really thought I could achieve. You get to 25 and kind of lose track of it and before you know it you are nearing 50.

"Personally, great achievement, but the biggest desire is for us to make a tournament. That would go way beyond the 50-cap mark."

After the Russia fixture, Scotland host Belgium on Monday with points needed from the double-header to keep their automatic qualification hopes alive.

Even if Scotland finish outside the top two in their group, they could still qualify through the play-offs next spring.

Naismith says the squad are relishing working under new manager Steve Clarke, and the forward insisted he had recovered from a hamstring injury.

"The biggest thing is there is a clear plan and we will work on that plan as hard as we can and as long as we need to," he said. "But this next period of games are going to be really important.

"I have had a good couple of weeks' training and I'm feeling good. When you get older it's more of a lifestyle thing, rather than go through pre-season and work really hard to stay fit, you naturally stay fit throughout the year."

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