Russell lifted by spell with full squad

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Scotland Under-21 striker Johnny Russell admits he is going into the clash against Bulgaria on a high following his spell with the full squad.

Russell was called up by Craig Levein for last weekend’s friendly against the United States, although he did not feature. Despite the week in Florida ending in a 5-1 defeat, the Dundee United forward has happy memories of his spell training with Scotland.

The 22-year-old told www.scottishfa.co.uk: “It was a brilliant experience for me to be involved with the senior squad in America.

“It was a great surprise to get the call-up but I am very grateful for the opportunity and really enjoyed being around the squad and seeing how things worked at that level.

“It was a massive boost for me but now my focus is on beating Bulgaria.”

Scotland were held to a goalless draw by Bulgaria in the opening match of their UEFA Under-21 qualifying campaign at St Mirren Park.

But Billy Stark’s side have still not lost in Group 10 and can leapfrog leaders the Netherlands if they win in Lovech tonight.

“This is probably our biggest game of the campaign so far,” Russell said. “We really need to get a good result here if we want to take one of the play-off spots.

“They are a hard-working team and difficult to break down. Although it was 0-0 in Scotland, it was a game we could have won. The boys are raring to go.”