Hartley won't snub Scots

Aberdeen skipper will never quit national team

Hartley: Committed to Scotland

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Paul Hartley has insisted he will always make himself available for international duty with Scotland.

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The Aberdeen defender has been left out of the squad for Tuesday's friendly against the Faroe Islands and has not recently been in contact with manager Craig Levein.

Hartley, 34, can understand why Levein has decided to look at some younger players but hopes his Scotland days are not over.

He is adamant that he will never quit but for now is just concentrating on performing as well as possible at club level.

"I'm not disappointed not to be included," Hartley told the Daily Record.

No contact

"Craig has made his mind up with the squad and drafted some younger players in - I don't have a problem with that.

"My main focus right now is Aberdeen and trying to get us out of the mess we're in.

"Is my Scotland career over? You'd have to ask Craig that. I'll always be available for my country. If I keep playing well for Aberdeen you never know.

"Craig hasn't phoned me but I didn't expect a call. I wasn't sitting beside the phone.

"He's picked his squad and hopefully we get a good result against the Faroes. I will be there watching the game at Pittodrie."

Relegation battle

Hartley is the captain of an Aberdeen side that has made a dismal start to the season, with Saturday's defeat to Rangers keeping them second bottom of the table.

The Dons are one of the most well-established clubs in the SPL but Hartley accepts they are very much in a relegation battle.

He said: "You hear people saying we're too big to go down but that's just talk, isn't it?

"It has happened before with big clubs, especially down in England.

"Aberdeen flirted with relegation about 12 years ago. It's a thing we don't want to talk about but we have to now to help get ourselves out of it.

"There's a long way to go and I believe in the players we have here."