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 By PA Sport

Steven Naismith: Scotland should leave Hampden Park

Steven Naismith is in support of Scotland playing a multiple venues.

Scotland international Steven Naismith believes Hampden's time should be up.

Naismith is in favour of moving Scotland games around the country instead of renewing the lease to use the national stadium.

The Scottish Football Association has been in discussions with Queen's Park over the terms of the lease, which ends in 2020, with an outcome expected before the end of this year. Talks have also been held about the use of BT Murrayfield for major football games.

And Naismith feels the SFA is right to seek cost savings which could be redirected into producing future internationals.

"There have been a few games where I thought the atmosphere was incredible," said the Norwich forward, who has 45 caps. "But, and my dad and my grandparents wouldn't thank me for saying it, if everything was right they should move and use the facilities we have got.

"If it worked financially you could use that money in a better system to create great players, then I think that would be better.

"We have got some great stadiums we could use. You need the people who are in control of these stadiums to have Scottish football in the back of their mind rather than just their own agenda, and that's pretty tough in football in general.

"But if everything was right you could create a good system where you are using Pittodrie, the two Edinburgh clubs, Celtic, Rangers, even Kilmarnock if it's back on grass, it holds a decent crowd and gives a great atmosphere."

The former Rangers and Kilmarnock player feels the atmosphere at Hampden does Scotland few favours at times.

"I think it does need to be full and it needs a great crowd to get it going," said the 31-year-old, who was sponsoring a Christmas lunch for the homeless in Glasgow with charity Loaves and Fishes. "It's probably the spaces behind the goals, it doesn't have a great impact.

"One of my favourite stadiums to play in, or the best games I have enjoyed, has been Tynecastle. That's down to the structure of it, how tight it is to the pitch and also how steep the stands are. The atmosphere it gives off is incredible.

"We need to be using these small things to make a big advantage for us in every game we play in. I think that would make a difference."

Naismith has set his sights on returning to regular first-team football and winning his Scotland place back after suffering an ankle ligament injury, but he admits he might have to look into leaving Carrow Road to get back playing.

He only made one appearance during Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign but he wants to extend his international career beyond 45 caps after Gordon Strachan's successor as manager is appointed.

"Towards the end of that campaign I found it tough," Naismith said. "The manager had a great chat with me and said there was no point me travelling, 'you've not been playing at your club.'

"I understand it was the right thing not to take me but I found it slightly embarrassing. As a youngster you feel embarrassed when you are getting left out but when you are an older player I found it quite hard to take.

"I definitely want to get back playing so I can compete to be back in the Scotland squad. It's one of the proudest things I have done in my career, play for Scotland, and I want to continue doing that as long as I can."

The 31-year-old made three appearances for Norwich in August before injury struck.

"Being out for a period of time has made me realise the main thing is playing as many games as you can," he said. "In the last few weeks, it's been tough to get back in. The new manager [Daniel Farke] came in during the summer and I had a really good preseason, scoring goals and felt really fit. He made a few signings and had his idea of how he wanted to play and who he wanted to play.

"I have struggled from after I got my injury and that's something I will need to look at in January. I'll do as much as I can in the short term to do that but I don't think at my age you can afford to have too many months not playing when you are fit and ready to play."

Naismith was linked with a return to Ibrox in the summer and he admits he is keen to play football in his native country again at some stage.

"I do want to come back and play in Scotland and the older I've got, the more interest I have in terms of coaching and tactics, and what you should be doing as a player in games," he said. "If I can do that for some of the young guys coming through in Scotland, then that's something I want to give back in that respect. But whether that's in the short term or long term, we need to wait and see."

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