It's now five years since James Morrison was persuaded to commit his international future to Scotland by then manager Alex McLeish.
Five years too since the 21 year old Morrison left Middlesbrough to join Tony Mowbray's West Bromwich Albion and four years since his decision to wrap himself in the Saltire was rewarded with a first cap.
Since then he's suffered relegation and enjoyed promotion, he's seen club and international managers come and go and he's quietly but effectively established himself as a consistent presence in the English Premier League and an automatic inclusion in Craig Levein's Scotland squad.
It's a steady and impressive progression but not one that has silenced all the doubters. In Scotland the brickbats are thrown still when Morrison is picked for international duty by Craig Levein.
He suffers, I think, for reasons outwith his control. West Brom remain a resolutely unfashionable club, there remains a lingering distrust of the SFA's policy of recruiting "Anglos" and there's a sizeable number who are convinced that Craig Levein can do no right.
He seems commendably unperturbed by all that. Over the course of his 20 caps he's grown in stature in a Scotland shirt and, still only 25, he looks set to become one of the key senior players over the course of the squad's next couple of campaigns.
Domestically he's been a key player as Roy Hodgson has quietly and effectively turned West Brom into a lean, mean survival machine.
Five goals from 30 league games is a reasonable - if not eye catching - return for a midfielder in a mid-table English Premier League side but it does illustrate the attacking threat of a player integral to West Brom's success this year. Roy Hodgson, now the latest man to try his luck at dragging England from the shadow of Alf Ramsay, has masterminded his success. Hodgson's trust in Morrison proves that this is a player who combines attacking intent with an admirable work ethic.
Flair and toil. Toil and flair. Few Scotland manager's can resist those twin attractions. For Craig Levein it is the stuff of dreams, for his preferred tactics to work Levein needs midfielders who'll work their socks off as a defensive unit and get forward to support the lone wolf striker. It's a sound enough plan if you can find the players to execute it.
In which light the continued emergence of James Morrison this season might be seen as the continued emergence of a player who is absolutely critical to our international hopes. Maybe next season we'll even learn to love him.
Tom Hall is the editor of the (Scottish Football Blog)[http://www.scottishfootballblog.co.uk/]. You can follow them on (Twitter)[https://twitter.com/#!/ScotFootBlog].
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