With the finest scoring record in Europe this season, Queen of the South’s Stephen Dobbie has found the finest form of his career deep into his 30s. His manager Gary Naysmith insists the former Swansea would fit into any side in the World at present. David Ronney reports.
Queen of the South boss, Gary Naysmith believes ‘on fire’ striker, Stephen Dobbie could do it for Scotland, however, he doesn’t expect Dobbie to receive the call of duty anytime soon.
The 35-year-old has scored 24 goals already this season, more than the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe put together.
He penned a new deal this week, extending his current contract by a year until summer 2020.
With Leigh Griffiths pulling out Alex McLeish’s Scotland side to ‘focus on fitness’, it leaves a vacant space up front for the national side.
While Naysmith was open to allowing the Scottish Championship striker to be included in the match squad for Scotland’s matches against Israel and Portugal, he doesn’t expect a ring from the Scotland boss.
He said: “Well you’ll get the cynical people who’ll say that it’s just the Scottish Championship and it doesn’t really count but to score that amount of goals at any level it takes some doing. And he’s done it consistently at his time at Queen of the South.
“There’s no doubt he’d be available, yes I would be surprised. I think Stephen answered that question himself in the papers at the weekend that he thinks his time has passed.
“He’s quite happy to be playing for Queen of the South. But what I would say is to anybody is Stephen Dobbie will score goals at any level. He’s done it while he was in England, scored in play-off finals. Stephen Dobbie will score goals wherever he plays.”
The Queen of the South manager added that it would be a step up for Dobbie to cope fitness wise, but he believed he could cope with the challenge.
“I do think he could cope with it. Obviously, it’s just speculation, people are putting two and two together and trying to make something happen but it is just speculation.
“It’s a big step up to try go through Scotland Championship to international level but like I said previously, he would score goals at any level he plays at.”
The Doonhamers take on East Fife in the third round of the Irn Bru Challenge Cup this weekend, a side Naysmith managed for three years up until 2016. The League One side have won their last six fixtures and Naysmith was weary of the threat they pose.
He said: “They’re a team that are in form. They never started the season too well, but they’ve picked it up in recent weeks.
“They’re going to be a tough game. They’re a team playing with confidence and any team playing with confidence become harder opponents. They beat Partick Thistle in the last round in the cup, it wasn’t like Partick played a really weakened team. They made one or two changes, but they still had a really strong team out. So, it’s going to be a very difficult game for us.”
East Fife have kept four clean sheets in those six wins but Naysmith was confident that his side have the firepower to break them down.
He said: “I’m always confident we’ll score with the attacking players we’ve got in the team. I think we’ve scored something like 40 odd goals in 15 games this season.
“That’s how we set the team up, to go and try and score and sometimes it goes the other way and you concede a few but we do generally fancy ourselves to score.”