By ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
JAMES McArthur is determined to replicate his goalscoring heroics at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night – despite admitting his only Scotland strike to date was a complete fluke.
The 27-year-old broke his international duck in Dublin three years ago when he found the net in the 2011 Carling Nations Cup tie against Northern Ireland, helping Scotland cruise to a 3-0 win.
The Crystal Palace midfielder concedes there was plenty of good fortune involved as his cross-cum-shot from the edge of box looped over the helpless Jonathan Tuffey.
It remains McArthur’s only goal in 19 caps for Scotland – a source of much frustration for the ex-Hamilton star. He would love to remedy that record in this weekend’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier.
McArthur said: “I remember that goal, it was a great strike! No, let’s be honest, it was a cross, rather than a strike at goal.
“But I was delighted to get a goal on the night and it is something I need to do more of. When I get an opportunity I really need to be looking to score more goals.
“To score in that game and not get another one to date is really disappointing. However, the main thing is that the team wins and we do our best to qualify – which is the real main aim.”
Injury robbed McArthur of the chance to feature against Ireland in November as Gordon Strachan’s men claimed a nerve-shredding 1-0 win at Celtic Park thanks to Shaun Maloney’s wonder-goal.
However, he lapped up every minute of a raucous evening in Glasgow’s East End – dubbing it the best atmosphere he has ever experienced.
More of the same in the Irish capital, including an identical outcome, would suit McArthur down to the ground.
He told the SFA website: “They are like ourselves – a tight-knit group – and it is going to be a great game.
“I certainly hope the atmosphere is as good as the last time. I was injured that night, but I was at Parkhead and it was the best atmosphere I have been involved in and seen.
“Hopefully, the fans can create that sort of spectacle and hopefully we get the same result.”