MOTHERWELL manager Graham Alexander has told Liam Kelly that his Scotland chance will come if he maintains the high standards he has set since joining the club in January.

Former Livingston keeper Kelly has been excellent since coming to Fir Park on loan from Queens Park Rangers in January, and he was disappointed to miss out on Steve Clarke’s latest Scotland squad for next week’s World Cup qualifiers.

But Alexander, who himself earned 40 caps for Scotland having been called up for the first time at the age of 30, has told Kelly that if he keeps knocking on Clarke’s door by turning in consistently high performances, it will be answered with a call-up in the not too distant future.

“Scotland have more than 23 good players and it's a big pool to choose from,” Alexander said.

“The squad the manager's chosen in the past has had success, so how you build a team is through consistency and every player who's in that squad has probably built up a bank of credit to stay in the squad.

“I know from personal experience it's not just about the eleven who play, it's about the whole squad that trains and pushes the others.

“Steve Clarke will have a squad of players on the outside who are chomping at the bit to get in the squad and I'm sure Liam Kelly will be among them. His form has been fantastic for us.

“He's a great leader on and off the pitch, he's brilliant on the training pitch, the will-to-win I want is epitomised by Liam in how he approaches the game.

“He was hopeful about the squad and I'm sure if he continues to play as he is and an opportunity arises he'll be in Steve Clarke's thinking. It's down to Liam to not let his standards drop because again, I know from my own experience that opportunity could come at the drop of a hat. If you're not ready to take it it'll go to someone else.

“Liam knows the strides he's made since coming here in terms of how he's playing and without a doubt he's one of the best goalkeepers Scotland have got. The opportunity will certainly come and he's got to be ready for it.”

A win for Alexander’s men at Rugby Park today would put a huge dent in bottom club Kilmarnock’s survival hopes, with the 13-point cushion it would open up on the hosts all-but securing Motherwell’s safety with just five games to play. Alexander isn’t one for resting on his laurels though.

“I’m not accepting anything until the end of the season, because I want the most points we can get from these last six games,” he said. "That’s what we’re after.

“Regardless of what happens on Saturday, we will not drop our intensity and our want for points after that right until the end of the season.

“I don’t think it’s a healthy environment to have if it’s like that, you have to have that inner will and drive to represent yourself in the best way possible every time you put on a pair of boots, and that for me underpins everything you achieve in football.

“The league table is there and everyone knows about it, but we don’t talk about it. We talk about the next game and winning as many points as possible every single game.

“We know we can’t always achieve that, but we have to have the mentality to try and achieve that.

“Regardless of where we are or what the league looks like on Saturday night, we won’t be working any less on Monday, I can guarantee that.

“That’s how I’ve lived my life up to now and the day it changes, I’ll probably walk away.”

Despite having no fixture last weekend, Alexander revealed that no one from his lengthy injury list is yet ready to come back into the side from the win over Livingston a fortnight ago.

They would have a job to break into the starting XI in any case, as even club captain and Scotland squad member Declan Gallagher is finding out.

“What we like is that the bench last time had Declan Gallagher, Liam Polworth, Chris Long, these are real good players who have every right to be in the team as the others,” said Alexander.

“That’s how we have to have a competitive squad. We have changed a winning team previously because of performance or what we see in training, because I’m a great believer in how we train.

“The players understand that they’re not allowed to play well in a game and then toss it off for the rest of the week. That’s not how we are, and if a player does that it will be a big mistake, because he won’t play.”