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22 March 2016

Martin and Scotland ready for first action of 2016

RUSSELL Martin has spoken of Scotland's 'fresh start' as they prepare for a friendly double-header against the Czech Republic and Denmark.

Gordon Strachan's squad are together for the first time since October last year, when they narrowly missed out on claiming a spot at this summer's European Championship.

The group are gearing up for their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in September with Martin and co. going up against England as well as Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia in Group F.

City's captain told the Scottish FA: "It's good to be back. It's strange with the internationals now in terms of how it's set up with the games.

"You're together a lot at the start of the season and then you have quite a while apart, and things change through the season.

"Everyone's going through their own stuff whether you're fighting for promotion, to avoid relegation or just mid-table mediocrity, but it's good to see everyone.

"There are a few new faces as well, so it's good to be back. It's a clean slate, a fresh start now. It's all about building up to the World Cup qualifying campaign."

VIDEO | @NorwichCityFC's Russell Martin looking forward to international duty with Scotland this week #CZESCO

— Scottish FA (@ScottishFA) March 21, 2016
Scotland welcome Denmark to Hampden Park next Tuesday but first face a trip to Prague on Thursday to take on the Czechs, who are one of the 24 teams set to compete at the Euros in June and July.

Martin is expecting a test in the Scots' first match for over five months, saying: "It will be a tough start for us, they will be a decent team but the lads are looking forward to it.

"With new faces in the squad, the manager will want to make sure that everyone knows how we want to play.

"It's always good to come away and I think most of the lads will tell you the same. It's good to have a change of scenery, and you go back to your club reinvigorated."

Martin skippered the Canaries to victory over West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, and he revealed that he's since spoken to the Baggies' captain - and international teammate - Darren Fletcher about the outcome at the Hawthorns.

He added: "I saw him briefly in the referee's room before the game but I didn't get to see him after, I don't think he was too happy with the result! 

"We spoke about the game yesterday, but it wasn't a great game of football if I'm honest. We both agreed on that and talked about how different the Premier League has been this season.

"It's been interesting for the neutral. It was a big win for us at the weekend and hopefully we can kick on from there."

Look out for a full international preview on this week, with a number of Alex Neil's squad in line to represent their countries.

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