PAUL DIXON may perhaps be a contender for the only Scotsman in the British Isles who did not watch Tuesday’s clash with the ‘Auld Enemy’ at Celtic Park, but you will struggle to find a prouder one either.
The Huddersfield Town defender says he did not watch the action unfold on TV as he was looking after his wee bairn at home. Although after looking in his eye, this particular writer was not entirely convinced.
What cannot be doubted is the Aberdonian’s passion for representing his country, which he has done on three occasions and which he will take to the grave – even if the number of caps stays stuck at three.
A quietly-spoken individual not prone to hyperbole, Dixon may not display his depth of feeling on the topic in a tub-thumping way that William Wallace would bay for, but the succinct definition of his statement as to what it means to play for Scotland says everything.
Put simply, the inner fire in his belly to represent his nation will never die while he is a professional footballer.
Given the headlines about certain players not exactly treating international football far from seriously, his words are refreshing to hear.
The big obstacle preventing him regaining the left-back berth is Hull City’s Andrew Robertson – another lad from the east of Scotland in Dundee and who made his name at Dundee United, like Dixon.
The Town man may be 27, but will keep at it and if he does manage to wear the dark blue of Scotland again after being passed over for the last two years, it will make for a heartening tale.
On the England game, Dixon, who won his caps in 2012 said: “I did not watch it. I don’t really watch football, to be honest. Because I do it as my job, I like to switch off. Plus, I have got my son, so I am busy with him.
“But as long as I am kicking a ball around on a green field professionally, I want to play football for Scotland.
“I have done it three times, so if it never happens again, I can hold my head up high and say I have played for my country.
“I have never actually had the privilege of being picked. I have only played for Scotland through somebody else being injured and getting called up. But I don’t care how it comes, it doesn’t matter. I will take it anyway.
“It would be nice to get back involved in the squad, but I have got to play well for Huddersfield first to get that chance.”
Dixon, hoping to sample derby action after the international break against Sheffield Wednesday this lunchtime, can perhaps be comforted by the fact that Scotland chief Gordon Strachan has shown no reluctance whatever to regularly field Championship players.
Seven started against England and another two came on, including someone Dixon could line up against today in Stevie May.
To step up again and join the likes of May, Dixon is under no illusions he will need a consistent run of form at Town, with the full-back pitted in a battle with Jack Robinson for duties on the left-hand side of the defence.
It is a fair fight and Dixon, who has started Town’s last two games, but has been left out at other junctures, has no axe to grind with Chris Powell, whose all-inclusive approach has quickly won him over.
Powell, a former PFA chairman, has already displayed a strong duty of care to his players in his short time at Town, where the lines of communication between player and manager are always open.
Upon his arrival at Town, Powell stressed the importance of a happy working environment and while he can only pick 11 players to start on a Saturday along with his substitutes, with some unfortunate players occasionally having to miss out, no-one can be accused of not knowing where they stand with him.
It is perhaps no coincidence that Town are vastly improved under Powell in the past few months and having a happy squad seems to be reaping its rewards.
Dixon said: “From day one, he has kept me and any other players in the loop as to why he has made his decision.
“For me, that is good man-management. I have had managers in the past who have said absolutely nothing to me. Footballers that are not playing tend not to be happy and if things happen, they might not like a manager for certain reasons, but he has been honest from day one.”
Huddersfield Town winger Sean Scannell has signed a two-year contract extension.
The 24-year-old former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international joined the Terriers from Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal in June 2012. He has made 87 league appearances for the Championship side so far since joining from the Eagles, scoring four goals.