Harris ‘not surprised’ by Paterson’s development as a striker
The 24-year-old began his career as a full-back but has steadily moved up further up the pitch.
Cardiff’s Callum Paterson has pushed his case for a Scotland striking role as one of the strangest stories of the season continues to unfold.
Paterson, the defender turned centre-forward, made it three goals in four Premier League games as Cardiff beat Brighton 2-1 on Saturday.
It is a burst of scoring form which puts Paterson in contention to lead the Scotland attack in their upcoming crunch Nations League qualifiers against Albania and Israel.
The 24-year-old former Hearts man, who began his career at right-back, was actually listed as a midfielder when his return to the Scotland squad was announced this week.
But Alex McLeish is without injured pair Leigh Griffiths and Stephen Naismith, and Paterson could now be a striking option that the Scotland manager can simply no longer ignore.
“Callum’s been everywhere,” club teammate Kadeem Harris said in reference to Paterson’s journey at Cardiff from right-back, central midfield and number 10 roles into the main striking spot.
“His work rate is outstanding, and when you work as hard as he does you can play anywhere on the pitch.
“I’m not surprised (he’s playing centre-forward) because his work-rate is that good he tires out the defenders he plays against.
“He gets in the positions to get goals and it’s showing now that he can do it.”
Paterson almost added to his tally with a last-minute winner on the day Neil Warnock celebrated his 100th game as Cardiff manager.
The Scot’s deflected effort struck the crossbar in a crazy goalmouth scramble, but Sol Bamba was on hand to lash home and secure Cardiff’s second victory of the season.
It was not enough to lift the Bluebirds out of the relegation zone, but Cardiff appear to be finding their feet in the top flight after two wins in four games.
“It annoys me when people write us off because I know what we’re capable of,” said Harris, who set up Paterson’s opener and also struck the crossbar on his first Premier League start.
“It’s up to us to prove everyone wrong.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, it’s only three points against 10 men.
“But week by week we’ve improved. We just have to keep raking up the points and kick on.”
Brighton seized an early lead as Lewis Dunk marked his call up to the England squad with a second goal in as many games.
But Paterson levelled before Dale Stephens was sent off for a dangerous 34th-minute studs-up challenge on Greg Cunningham.
Brighton defended manfully before Bamba broke their resistance, although television replays showed the centre-half standing in an offside position before his first effort in the late pinball incident came back off an upright.
“We think the second goal was offside,” said goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, offering a critical assessment of Martin Atkinson’s refereeing performance.
“We also thought Dale got the ball and it was more the reaction from them that influenced the referee’s decision.
“But I think the refereeing was a bit one-sided towards the home team.
“We felt a lot of soft fouls went their way, 50-50 things that you see let go in England were picked up a little bit more.
“But we only have ourselves to blame because the goals we conceded were too soft.”