Boyd boosted by coaching lessons
Kris Boyd claims the "giant step" he has taken towards the rehabilitation of his Scotland career is partly down to taking his coaching badges.
Some eyebrows were raised on Sunday when the 30-year-old Kilmarnock striker was called into Gordon Strachan's squad for the friendly against Norway in Molde on Tuesday night.
The former Rangers and Middlesbrough player last appeared for the Scots in a 2-1 European Championship qualifying victory over Liechtenstein at Hampden in September 2010.
A rejuvenated Boyd has scored six times in 12 appearances for Killie this season but has been praised just as much for his all-round play, a contrast to his younger days when he was viewed almost solely as a penalty box striker.
Speaking at the Scotland team hotel before flying out of Glasgow Airport, he revealed how working towards his 'A' licence has helped give him a better understanding of the game.
"It has helped me, it has opened my eyes to the game," said Boyd.
"You have more appreciation for the game, you realise that it is not just about you, it is about the full team.
"You realise that managers' decisions are not just based on one man, you have 11 or 18 men to keep happy.
"The easy part are the ones that are playing, it is the ones that are not playing that you need to manage properly.
"So I have maybe added things that have helped the team, whereas maybe in games before you would go out and look after number one.
"But as a footballer you have a duty to take part in a team.
"I don't think I will start the game but if I get 10 minutes or am in the stand, it is still a giant step in the right direction from where I have been in the last couple of years."
The Rugby Park hitman and Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong were called up by Strachan following the withdrawal of Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, Celtic midfielder Charlie Mulgrew and Blackburn defender Grant Hanley, while Leeds forward Ross McCormack and Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks have subsequently withdrawn.
Boyd struggled to settle at Middlesbrough, Eskisehirspor and Portland Timbers before January's return to the club which gave him his start in senior football.
He insists the chance to add to his 18 caps and seven goals for his country against Norway "would mean the world" to him but is looking further ahead than that.
"As a footballer, nothing beats representing your country," he said.
"I know there are five or six people in the same boat, doing it week in, week out, so for me it was about patience.
"It's great to be back and part of it but I am not going to say I am back in the international set-up.
"I think an international player is one who is called up every month. I want to be selected in the original squads, I want to be selected in the first 22 or 24-man squads going forward.
"I don't want to be here and disappear for another five or six months so the hard work begins again."
Strachan, looking to build on the goalless draw against the United States in the Vauxhall International Challenge match at Hampden Park on Friday night, was encouraged by the enthusiasm Boyd showed at his press conference and during training.
The former Celtic and Middlesbrough boss was keen to stress that age is no barrier to selection.
He said: "That (enthusiasm) is what we want from everyone that turns up, whether they be 18, 29 or 35.
"Gordon Greer turned up at (almost) 33, full of the enthusiasm of a kid of 17/18.
"That's what we want when you get picked for Scotland. It's not a chore, it's something that you really want to do.
"The squad is open to anybody, age is no barrier - whether you are 17 or 33, age is no barrier.
"I went to watch the under-21s and from there I asked Stuart to come along.
"Kris has played well at his club. He has had a good month and he looks good.
"He brings a bit of life to the squad. We have good characters but he adds to it.
"We have been together for about eight days, which is hard work, and he has come along and given it a boost.
"I worked with him for a small time at Middlesbrough and he showed the same enthusiasm for training and for football.
"He knows he won't be starting tomorrow, but he could possibly get on."
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