FORMER York City star Graeme Murty hopes the play-off spotlight can push his claims for a place in Berti Vogts' Scotland squad.

The 28-year-old Reading full-back, who was born in Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, qualifies for Scotland because his father Eddie hails from Glasgow.

The former Minsterman is preparing for the play-off semi-final first leg against Wolves at Molineux tomorrow and knows a good performance could boost his hopes of a call-up.

Murty said: "Dad played for Celtic boys and had the chance to turn professional. But the wages were not so good in those days so he took an apprenticeship as an engineer instead.

"Although I was born in the north east, dad has always told me how made up he would be if I got into the international squad.

"The Scottish authorities should know I am eligible because it was Vogts' assistant, Tommy Burns, who signed me from York in 1998.

"In fact, there were always friendly little battles between Tommy and his Reading assistant Pat Bonner, because I am also eligible to play for Ireland through my grandfather."

Burns paid City £700,000 for Murty and Reading paid out another £50,000 when they won promotion to the First Division last season.

His early form at Reading was hampered by injury, but last season he was the club's player of the year and he was named in the Professional Footballers' Association Division Two side of the season as Reading won promotion.

He has been in top form for Alan Pardew's side again this year, finishing second to James Harper in the player-of-the-year vote.

Murty said: "Most people are looking at us as underdogs, but we will not be a pushover for anyone. There are some good players in this side and a bit of recognition would not do us any harm."

Updated: 10:47 Friday, May 09, 2003