Luton defender Naismith still dreams of playing for Scotland

International ambitions remain for Glaswegian

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 9th October 2021, 9:48 am
Updated Saturday, 9th October 2021, 9:50 am
Town defender Kal Naismith wins a header against Huddersfield on Saturday
Town defender Kal Naismith wins a header against Huddersfield on Saturday

Luton defender Kal Naismith still hasn’t given up on his dream of representing Scotland in the future.

The Glaswegian has been capped at youth level for his country, playing for the U16s and U17s during his formative years at Rangers, but a senior call-up has eluded him.

Naismith has been in tremendous form so far this term for the Hatters, one of only two outfield players along with James Bree to not miss a single minute of football so far.

Although turning 30 in February, Naismith still believes it is possible for him or team-mate Allan Campbell to become only the second Luton player ever to play for Scotland.

That would see them follow in the footsteps of winger Mike Cullen, who was capped by his country in May 1956, setting up the opening goal for Alfie Conn in the 1-1 draw with Austria.

After meeting Cullen, now 90, recently, Naismith, speaking to the club’s official website said: “That’s one of my ambitions.

"I’ve got goals in football that I’ve not quite achieved yet, and that is one of my biggest.

“Everyone wants to represent their country and I’m no different.

"I’d love to, and it does give you inspiration just going there and talking to Mike about it.

“So to see that he’s done it, he’s moved away from home and done everything that I’ve done, and it’s crazy to see him still down here at 90 years old.

“Obviously he played for Scotland, and if me and Al can do it – or one of us can do it, I’d be delighted if it was him, if it was me…as I say, it’s a massive goal so I’d be so happy.”

Naismith has featured in a number of positions for the Hatters since arriving on a free from Wigan Athletic in January, but he feels it’s centre half that suits him best.

He continued: “That’s the role I enjoy most.

"I visualise my career, and where it can go, and I think about everything.

"That’s the position where I see myself progressing, with Luton, and that’s where I see myself going forward in the next six or seven years of my career, if I’m that lucky and get that long.

“That might be where I see myself, but again, everyone knows me and the manager knows me well enough that if he ever wants to move me about, then I’m here for the team.

"It’s his decision and I respect him, I’m never going to question it.

"I’ll go there and do the absolute best that I can.

“But where I am now, I feel really settled, I’m playing well and I feel that I can impact the team from that position a lot.”

In the absence of Sonny Bradley due to Covid, Naismith had the captain’s armband for the opening weeks of the campaign, and thrived on the extra responsibilities that came with the job, saying: "I just go about my work, work hard and then try and be myself.

"So to almost get that respect from the manager, that responsibility for the players – it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe and is the proudest thing that I’ve done in my career.

“Sonny is our captain and our leader, but we’ve got lots and lots of experienced lads and leaders in the changing room.

"So to be that one with the armband on in his absence, and to have that feeling of leading the lads out, it’s a massive honour.”

Another thing that Naismith is targeting is netting his first goal for the Hatters in front of supporters, after his previous strike came at Kenilworth Road when fans were still not allowed to attend due to the pandemic.

He added: "We need to chip in, the defenders.

"It’s huge in the Championship, if you can nick goals from set-pieces.

"I got close with a couple recently, I’ve got a lot more first contacts on the deliveries, so I feel it’s coming, and I’d love it to be at home in front of the fans.

“I love playing at the stadium. I know every player says that about their own club, but I do love playing at Kenilworth Road.

"It’s so packed, so tight, so full, the fans are as loud as anything and they get right behind us.

"I’ve scored here as an opposition player and I’ve scored for us with no fans there.

"I can’t wait to hear the noise when I get one, but I’ll take anyone scoring as long as we win.”