ALBION boss Gus Poyet insists Craig Mackail-Smith has nothing to prove in a shoot-out with Scotland rival Jordan Rhodes.
The strikers go head-to-head today in the Seagulls’ clash with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Mackail-Smith missed out towards the end of Craig Levein’s reign as Scotland manager, while Rhodes came more to the fore.
Poyet believes his leading marksman has already done himself justice at international level and just needs to keep on scoring to force his way back into Scotland’s plans.
“From my point of view he doesn’t need to prove anything,” Poyet said. “Every game I’ve watched him in the national team he was doing what he does best, being very helpful for the team, giving you that energy no other striker in Scotland can give you, and scoring in one of the first games he played, so I don’t think it’s anything to do with Rhodes.
“Then, if the new manager is going to pick him or not I don’t know. I think Macca needs to make sure he keeps scoring.
“At halfway he has got ten goals, so we’ll see if he can score a few more than ten in the second part of the season.
“That is partly for the team to produce and partly for him to put it in the net.”
Mackail-Smith has netted ten goals in 20 games for Albion this season, nearly matching Rhodes’ tally of 11 in 19 appearances since his £8 million move to Blackburn from Huddersfield at the end of August.
Interim boss Billy Stark is expected to still be in charge of Scotland for a friendly against Estonia at Aberdeen on February 6 - three days before Albion host promotion rivals Hull.
Levein’s successor is scheduled to be in place before the Scots resume their doomed World Cup qualifying campaign against Seagulls midfielder Andrew Crofts and Wales at Hampden Park at the end of March.