Scots impress McNaughton

Cardiff defender delighted to back in international contention

McNaughton: Matured

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Kevin McNaughton sees no reason why Scotland cannot spring a surprise against Czech Republic.

The Cardiff defender is hoping to return from the international wilderness in Friday's friendly, but has been impressed with his countrymen's development since he last appeared for the national side.

Scotland only narrowly missed out on a place at Euro 2008 and have risen to 15th in Fifa's official world rankings.

As a result, McNaughton expects George Burley's side to provide stiff opposition for a talented Czech team when they meet in Prague.

Confident

"They're one of the top teams in the world, going into a major competition, so it's going to be a tough, tough match," the full-back told Sky Sports News.

"But that's no reason why we can't go out there and get a result.

"I think the country has come on leaps and bounds, football wise, recently so we go out there confident, myself included."

McNaughton will be looking to earn his fourth senior cap on Friday, a disappointing haul for a man who made his international debut back in 2002.

Attitude

A fall-out with former national boss Berti Vogts hardly helped his cause, but the Bluebirds ace admits that he has matured over the past few years.

"I can only do my best and that's the attitude I've taken to training and into matches," he said.

"You know you're not going to play brilliantly every match and there were times when I was a bit hard on myself, which affects your performance.

"So I think I've got a level of consistency in my game now which perhaps I didn't have earlier on."

A return to the Scotland side would represent a fitting climax to an impressive season for McNaughton, as he played a prominent role in Cardiff's run to the 2008 FA Cup final.

He will now be hoping to head into the summer break on the back of a victory, and not left to contemplate domestic and international failures.