THE SCOTTISH FA has defended its role in the defection of Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy to the Republic of Ireland.
The head of Scotland's youth section has also revealed how former senior team boss Berti Vogts personally intervened to persuade Manchester United star Darren Fletcher to plump for Scotland ahead of Ireland -- Fletcher was eligible to wear the green shirt as his mother is from Mayo.
"Aiden was picked three times for Scotland squads and he withdrew every time because he was determined he was going with Ireland," said Ross Mathie, head of the Scottish FA's youth system.
"Aiden was the only youth player who was ever brought in to meet a Scotland manager.
"Berti Vogts told him he was one of the best players in the country and, as much as he could do, guaranteed he would play for Scotland.
"But Aiden was adamant that he wanted to choose Ireland and I wrote to him and told him it was a mature decision for a 15-year-old and wished him all the best. James McCarthy I still get accused of having missed.
"But he had always said it was his grandfather's dying wish that he play for the Republic.
"In that situation, rightly or wrongly, I wouldn't want to change someone's mind. If someone else wants to try, fine. I've never been like that," he added.
"Berti came over to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland to speak to Darren Fletcher because he could have played for the Republic of Ireland.
"He sat and talked with Darren and Darren assured him he was committed to us," added Mathie.