SCOTLAND assistant boss Mark McGhee is hoping working with Paul Lambert can be the catalyst Blackburn Rovers forward Tony Watt needs to fulfil is potential.

The 22-year-old, currently on loan at Rovers from Charlton Athletic, is set to make his international debut tonight as Scotland travel to the Czech Republic for a friendly.


McGhee has no doubts about the talent that Watt possesses, but he delivered a scathing assessment of his fitness ahead of tonight’s match in Prague.

“He’s got unbelievable ability, he really has, he’s got tremendous ability,” McGhee told the Daily Record in Scotland.

“Yet he’s one of these boys who is not fit enough. He doesn’t train hard enough. I know that if you could get him to work hard in training, he would be a better player in the games.

“He relies so much on his natural ability that he lets himself down because he can’t go the distance. If you were working with him, I would think you could improve him. He’s at a club now where maybe he’ll be able to do that.

“At some point the penny will drop and he’ll realise he’s a really good player. We’re hoping that’s what happens but we can help him with that here. Gordon (Strachan) can help him. He’s the sort of player I would love to get a hold of and smack around!”

McGhee has previously encouraged Watt’s club bosses to keep him off the pitch until he hits certain fitness targets.

“Set him certain targets and standards before he gets another kick of the ball,” he said.

“Send him to one of these places in America that get you fit. A boot camp.

“I hope that we can throw down gauntlets to him. I hope we can throw down challenges and incentives to him about coming here again and being part of this campaign.

“We can tell him what he has to do back at his club in order to persuade Gordon that that should be the case. It might be incremental, but I think we can do that.”

And McGhee is hoping Watt may have found the perfect club boss in Lambert to help him reach the required level of fitness to perform week in, week out.

“One of your hopes is that Paul will not tolerate Tony being the way he’s been. He’ll be on his case. He could be the one to really make a player of him. We suspect that might be the case,” said McGhee.

“He has been his own worst enemy in many ways but the word on the street is that he is starting to get the message. Therefore, Gordon has trusted that he could bring him here.

“I’m not talking about a player that’s three stone overweight. The boy looks in great shape in that respect.

“But it’s just getting him to work that bit harder in training and in games, which we know, and Paul Lambert knows, would make him a better player.

“We’re quite excited that Paul is going to do that and in a year’s time we will have a player who will be an important part of the squad.”