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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 13:56 GMT
Crawford eyes Irish test
Stevie Crawford celebrates with Dunfermline
Crawford is expected to partner Don Hutchison

Dunfermline Athletic striker Stevie Crawford believes that Wednesday's friendly against Republic of Ireland marks the end of Berti Vogts' honeymoon period as Scotland boss.

Vogts survived a run of poor results after taking over from Craig Brown last year as the German went through a period of experimentation.

But the Scots followed a disappointing draw in the Faroe Islands with victory in Iceland to give the Tartan Army some hope for the future.

And Crawford told his club's website: "Now has come the time, when we have the European Championship qualifiers, where we would be expected to get a result.

I don't take it for granted to be involved with the national squad

Scotland striker Stevie Crawford
"If you look at the last few squads that Berti and Tommy have selected, the same names are appearing more regular, whereas, in the first five or six squads, he maybe chopped and changed.

"Fair play to him, he has had a look at players and thought 'well they are maybe not ready', or their form's not good.

"As a player, you just want to play to the peak of your form, because there are boys round about now who are chapping to get your place."

Crawford is expected to start the game up front alongside West Ham United's fit-again Don Hutchison.

But the Pars striker said: "I am still at the stage where I don't take it for granted to be involved with the national squad. It is a great honour.

"There has been a lot said about maybe partnering Don Hutchison, but there are a few forwards in there.

"Kenny Miller is doing really well down at Wolves at the moment.

"Neil McCann's chances have maybe been restricted at Rangers because of Lovenkrands' form, but he has been back in the team recently and he is doing well.

It will be another test for us

Scotland striker Stevie Crawford
"It must be good for the national side as well that we have somebody of that quality.

"To be fair to Berti Vogts and Tommy Burns, they have always been positive although the results didn't go the way they wanted them to.

"The quality of opposition maybe had something to do with that as well. Hopefully we have turned the corner without getting carried away."

Ireland lost their two opening European qualifiers before a more heartening goal-less draw in Greece in November, but Crawford is sure new boss Brian Kerr's side will remain a major force.

"I think Scotland did well, maybe a couple of years ago, against the Republic," he said.

"But they were a bit unfortunate in the World Cup and it will be another test for us."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Scotland manager Berti Vogts
"We have a few options"
Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr
"I haven't had much chance to watch Scotland"
See also:

10 Feb 03 | Scotland
10 Feb 03 | Republic of Ireland
09 Feb 03 | Republic of Ireland
04 Feb 03 | Scotland
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