Webster Hopes for Scotland Start

  • Last Updated: May 20 2012, 18:11 BST

Defender Andy Webster, who this weekend won the Scottish Cup with Hearts, is optimistic of ending the season on another high by making his first Scotland appearance in two years.

Andy Webster: Part of Scotland squad

The 30-year-old was on Sunday among the more sober members of Hearts' squad as they celebrated winning the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 5-1 victory over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

The Scottish-based members of Scotland's squad left for the United States on Sunday, with Webster set to meet up with the English-based players in Manchester on Monday before flying out to Florida for Saturday's friendly in Jacksonville.

The former Wigan and Rangers defender's mind was last week focused on the Scottish Cup final, but he is now keen to impress Scotland boss Craig Levein next week.

"With the build-up to the cup final it's taken up full focus and I'll worry about Scotland when I get there," Webster said. "I'll go to train and play, hopefully. I'd like to get on the pitch and play."

Webster's most recent appearance for Scotland was against the Czech Republic in March 2010 and he believes the 22-man squad - bolstered by 14 players who ply their trade in England - is much improved.

He added: "In general the Scotland squad's a lot stronger now with a lot of players playing on a regular basis in the Premier League. There's definitely a lot of quality there."

The win over Hibs saw Webster become a Scottish Cup winner for the second time in three years after he lifted the trophy in 2010 with Dundee United.

Speaking on the pitch at Tynecastle as Hearts paraded the cup, Webster added: "It's nice winning trophies. That's what it's all about as a footballer.

"With it being an Edinburgh derby and with all the history that went with it, it will take a wee while for it to sink in, but this is going to live long in the memory.

"When you see all the fans turning out - the streets were absolutely jam packed - you know what it means to people.

"It's a massive achievement for everyone involved in the club."

Webster can expect a challenging week ahead after Scotland assistant boss Peter Houston insisted the trip is not an excuse for an end of season holiday.

Houston, Webster's manager at United in 2010 and the current boss at Tannadice, said the match is important preparation for the World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in September against Serbia.

Houston, who reported no call offs from the 22-man squad, said: "We are looking forward to the trip because we see this game as being the first in the build up towards the qualifiers for the World Cup, so it's a very important game in many ways.

"It's one that we're looking forward to but we're not there for a holiday. We're here to try to win a match against the United States so the preparation will be as thorough as ever."

Joining Levein and Houston in leaving from Glasgow on Sunday were Celtic captain Scott Brown and his team-mate Charlie Mulgrew, goalkeeper Allan McGregor and his Rangers colleagues Lee Wallace and Steven Whittaker and goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who was last week released by Sunderland.

Dundee United striker Johnny Russell was also on the first flight after receiving his first senior Scotland squad call-up.

Following Saturday's match, Russell will join up with the Scotland Under-21 squad for their European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria on May 31.

"It's great the amount of players who have turned up," Houston added.

"Some are flying out tomorrow and the Scottish-based lads are already here."