Brighton star Craig Mackail-Smith will not let the success of last season go to his head, after the striker was selected for the third time by Scotland ahead of the country’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Czech Republic this weekend.
Mackail-Smith chose to play for Scotland on account of his Edinburgh-born grandmother, and his selection this weekend caps off a fine start of two goals for Brighton in five matches.
The Albion currently sit at the top of the Npower Championship table after an undefeated start to the season, but the 27-year-old says he still remembers his humble roots, and will make sure he gives his all for both Brighton and Scotland at every opportunity.
"I give everything I've got when I play football because the way I see it, I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing,” he said.
"It's such a strange game, you could be playing one day and finished the next.
"That's why I leave everything out on the pitch in whichever game I'm playing in. I think that's because I've had to work to get where I am in football right now.”
Mackail-Smith had to work his way up to the Seagulls, playing non-league football with St. Albans City, Arseley Town and Dagenham & Redbridge before moving to Peterborough United.
His performances for the Posh got him noticed by numerous clubs, including Barclays Premier League sides, but the 2011 League One Player of the year chose to sign for the south coast club and is reaping the rewards.
"A lot of players join big clubs straight from school and maybe don't appreciate what football gives them in life, but it's not so long ago that I was working in Asda and Homebase,” continued the hitman.
"I had part-time jobs when I was at college and playing in non-league football for Arlesey Town. At 19 I played for them on a Saturday but during the week I'd have my course work and also work in the Homebase garden centre.
"At that time I didn't know if I had any future in the game. Now I feel I've been blessed to have this career so I'm never going to rest on my laurels and be blase about it.”
And while Brighton fans are already excited at the prospect of Mackail-Smith being on side for the next four years, the signing is preparing to give the club his all in the hope of taking the Seagulls to the top-tier for the first time since the 1980s.
He added: "I've got the view that I have to give everything I've got every day in training and then in every single match I play.
"Once my career ends — and I've done everything I can to be the best I can — then I can sit back and see what I achieved.
"The last thing I want to have is regrets because I didn't give it everything I've got."
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