Ross Stewart reckons there isn't much between the Scottish Premiership and England's League One as he provided insight into his experience down south since leaving Ross County three years ago.

Stewart, 27, scored 40 goals from 81 appearances to help guide Sunderland back to the Championship from the third tier and consolidate their place in the so-called 'toughest league in the world'. He then earned a summer switch to promotion chasing Southampton, however injuries have blighted his game time and he's played just twice this season. 

Despite that, the Scotland cap has a career trajectory on the up and he reckons his experience across the league's has helped, while revealing his English counterparts respect Scottish football more than many would expect.

He explained: "There's not too many (differences). I think maybe down here the speed of the game and the physicality in terms of how many games you have to churn out a year. It's probably big, but going forward from League One, I think the Championship has been a general step up but when I came down to League One (from Scotland), there wasn't too much of a difference I would say.

"They are both tough leagues and I would think down here a lot of the lads appreciate how tough the SPL is to go play in, and at the same time it's not any easier when you come down here. 

"It is a really tough level, both of them, both that I have really enjoyed in different ways."

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One-time Rangers 'target', Stewart, is currently sidelined through injury but wants to return for Southampton's push to reach the English Premier League and fulfil a dream of playing at the highest level.

Asked about where he sees his football taking him next, he continued: "Probably just get back fit and have no more kind of long-term injuries then after that it's really just see how high I can go. I have been able to take step up after step up and the next step for me would obviously be to go and play in the Premier League, which is why I ultimately joined Southampton.

"So, hopefully we can get one of them top two spots or we can go up via the play-offs and I can go and test myself in the Premier League against some of the best players in the world and then by doing that, hopefully off the back of it, I can go make more appearances for my national team."

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Stewart hasn't forgotten his routes having starred at Albion Rovers, Alloa Athletic, St Mirren and Ross County before across the border in January 2021. 

Speaking to PLZ Soccer, he confessed his eyes are still firmly peeled on how his former clubs are doing. He said: ​"Yeah, I'm always checking. Obviously being Scottish and having been up there, I'm always talking about it down here with a lot of the English lads. I keep an eye on it myself, Ross County and St Mirren, even obviously I came from down the leagues so I keep an eye on them as well. 

"Obviously Ross County under Don picked up some good results recently so hopefully they can get themselves clear. And then St Mirren are having a really good season so yeah keeping an eye on them."