It perhaps comes as no great surprise to learn that one of Jason Cummings’ favourite fictional characters is The Joker. Even by his own maverick standards, however, spotting a tattoo on the back of his hand which depicts the maniacal smile of the villain of the Batman movies is something of an eye-opener.
“I was actually sober when I got it,” grins the Nottingham Forest striker who breezed back into Scottish football yesterday with a commanding performance at the international squad’s media day ahead of Thursday night’s friendly against the Netherlands.
“It’s going to be a goal celebration, putting the hand in front of my face to show the smile. If I score this week, that will be the one.
“I got it on one of my last trips back up to Edinburgh. I go to this lassie for my tattoo – Scoobs is her name. She’s really good, give her a wee shout out in the papers. I just picked The Joker smile off the list in her shop, I’m a big fan of him.
“Why do I like The Joker? It’s just his character, I think he’s a bit like me. A striker needs a celebration. I scored so many goals up here in Scotland, I was running out of celebrations. I needed a new one.I’m only joking. I don’t know why I got it. I’ll probably regret it in 20 years, but live for the moment, eh?”.
The heavily-inked former Hibs player admits there is a random nature to most of the artwork which adorns his body, although the image of a youthful Olivia Newton-John on his left arm prompts another unexpected revelation. “There’s nothing really significant behind my tattoos, except for the one of Sandy from Grease,” adds Cummings. “That’s who that one is meant to be. I asked for Sandy from Grease as she was in the movie, not now!
“I’m a massive Grease fan – honestly. It’s my favourite movie. There’s a wee bit of inside info for you there.
“Seriously, I can recite that movie word for word. I just watched it all the time when I was growing up, I don’t know why. There’s a space left on that arm for Danny Zuko and the Pink Ladies!”
If Cummings has a serious side, he keeps it fairly well hidden most of the time but there is no doubting the depth of his delight at being called into the senior Scotland squad for the first time. “Honestly, I am so over the moon,” he said. “If I could go back and tell the 12-year-old Cummings that his dream of being called up for Scotland had come true, he would be so happy.
“My family are proud as anything as well. For me, it would be great to get a cap and play some part of the game on Thursday. But just getting called up is a massive achievement. When I saw my name in the squad, I was so proud.
“Growing up, this was my dream. Getting into the Scotland squad was always something I wanted to tick off. It’s a friendly but it won’t be for me and the lads. We are focusing on Euro 2020 and this is the start. If I get involved, I’ll be on it.”
Cummings has enjoyed his first three months in English football, scoring four goals so far for Nottingham Forest. He believes he is working for the ideal manager in Mark Warburton and feels his all-round game has already improved under the former Rangers boss.
“The gaffer and the boys down there have been top drawer with me,” he said. “It’s a nice city too. I’m getting on well. I do miss my friends and family a lot and you don’t realise just how good a city Edinburgh is until you are away. The city is brilliant but Nottingham is decent. I’m not talking about the nightlife . . . I’m talking about the culture! It’s a great city with loads going on. It’s not as if I am in a rubbish place.
“It’s a different standard of football. The opponents are a bit fitter with more stamina. It’s a bit more professional. I feel like I’m getting used to it now. It did take me a while to get into it.
“But the gaffer’s philosophy is how I want to play, so there is no problem there. He loves to play football, he is all about getting the strikers in behind and scoring goals. I hadn’t spoken to the gaffer before I signed but we played Rangers so often when I was at Hibs. They were our rivals so I couldn’t really talk to him then. I think he just signed me because he was sick of me scoring against Rangers! I scored eight or nine against Rangers because we seemed to play them all the time. I have spoken to the gaffer and Davie Weir about the games we played, and we have a laugh about it.
“I didn’t know he wanted me but when I heard, I went down to meet him and he was brand new. We clicked straight away.
“There are loads of aspects where I have improved down there. The games come thick and fast – Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday – that you have to make sure your recovery is right. I just feel that I have matured as well. Playing with and against better players has made my game come on and I feel I have got better.”