O'Donnell relishing chance of a colt cap

STEPHEN O'DONNELL only had eyes for the Irn-Bru First Division crown at the start of the season.

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Stephen O'Donnell, left, and team-mate Stuart Bannigan are the first Jags players to be capped at Under-21 level for eight years
Stephen O'Donnell, left, and team-mate Stuart Bannigan are the first Jags players to be capped at Under-21 level for eight years

But now the Partick Thistle star has his sights set on his first Scotland cap as he prepares for a friendly with Greece tomorrow afternoon.

Despite finding himself sidelined through injury in recent weeks, O'Donnell has been named in Billy Stark's Under-21 squad for the Korinthos clash and is relishing the chance to pull on the dark blue shirt.

He said: "I am delighted to have got the call, it is probably the highlight of my career so far.

"I didn't expect it to come but I am delighted that is has. Hopefully I will be able to do myself justice.

"I would be lying if I said I was thinking about it. At the start of the season I just wanted to make sure I was playing every week for Thistle.

"I wanted the team to do well and, thankfully, both have been the case so far.

"We are in the title race and near the top of the table, so hopefully we can push on and do ourselves justice in the league which, at the start of the season, was my main goal."

O'Donnell will be joined on the plane to Greece by Firhill team-mate Stuart Bannigan, with the pair set to become the first Thistle stars for eight years to be capped at Under-21 level.

The Jags youngsters have been two of the standout performers this season and O'Donnell admits it is a major coup for the club to gain international recognition.

He said: "It is nice to think that someone would want you in the squad. It is an honour to go away with your country.

"Hopefully I will be fit and I can do myself justice and do Thistle justice. It is a great achievement for the club to have two of us in the squad.

"Hopefully we can do well, which I am sure Stuart will. He has been brilliant for us this season and I'm confident that I can play some good stuff too.

"It will be nice to get away but I am sure there won't be much time to relax.

"I have been on a few trips before, my last one when I went to Turkey for two weeks in my last year at Celtic. It was hard work and double sessions but I am sure I will enjoy it."

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