JAMES McFADDEN knows what it takes to be Scotland’s talisman.
The killer instinct, the magic touch, the mile-wide gallus streak – he had the lot.
For eight years and 48 caps, Faddy had the nation under his spell.
What he didn’t have was good fortune.
Six injury-plagued seasons have now passed since the man Berti Vogts dubbed his “cheeky boy” last pulled on a Scotland shirt in anger.
His absence has been the whole country’s loss.
But, nine years after his iconic goal in Paris had the Tartan Army daring to dream, Faddy believes Scotland have finally gained a player, in the revitalised Robert Snodgrass, capable of picking up where he left off.
“Ultimately, the country will look to Snoddy to be the man that’s going to bring the goals and he’s the ideal guy for it,” said McFadden.
“He’s a great guy, level-headed, good about the place and a great player – and he’s showing that.
“If you look at all the club sides he’s been at, he’s been the talisman for them.
“He’s been the man to produce something out of nothing and he’s going to be the guy for us.
“He’s come back from a bad injury and he looks hungry to do well, like a guy that’s enjoying every second of every game he plays. It has given the squad a lift.
“Hopefully for the next four or five years, or however long he plays for, he’s going to be the man that pops up with the goals.”
If McFadden’s prediction for Snodgrass turns out to be accurate, another parallel between the pair’s careers will come into existence.
Both players sparked off-field controversy in their early years, with McFadden’s failure to catch a Scotland flight back from Hong Kong after a boozy night out passing into national team folklore.
Faddy, now enjoying life as player/assistant manager at Motherwell, reckons he eventually turned that incident into a positive.
And he believes Snodgrass has also learned from his early mistakes in the best possible way.
“Hong Kong became part of my story,” said McFadden.
“It was definitely a positive in the end because it made me look normal, which I was anyway.
“There’s a fair few of the Tartan Army have missed their flights as well.
“If you make a mistake and are lambasted for it, and don’t get a chance to redeem yourself, then you never know.
“But if it’s dealt with in the right manner, it gives you the platform to prove to people that you are not that person, and also to pay back the people that have given you a second chance.
“I could deal with the press and getting slaughtered by people.
“My family were great with me, Berti Vogts was excellent and Tommy Burns was excellent. That was all I needed.
“The manager said: ‘Forget about it,’ and I did. I was that type of person.
“It was one of those things you put down to experience. I learnt from it and made it a positive.
“Snoddy’s the same. He’s had problems when he was younger but you forget about that now.
“All you talk about is how good a professional he is, how good a guy he is and how he’s going to be the man to hopefully fire us to the World Cup.”
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