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Striker Jason Scotland is ready to fire the Swans to greater heights by living up to one of his more favourable nicknames - Rocket.


Having arrived from Scottish side St Johnstone in the summer following a successful work permit application, the Trinidad & Tobago hit-man has lived up to his name and reputation by banging in five goals from four starts and three appearances from the bench.

And Rocket - a nickname picked up in T&T because he packs explosions in both feet - is determined to keep the fireworks coming by constantly lighting up the Liberty with his goalscoring exploits.

"It's a nickname I picked up back home,'' confirmed Scotland. "I think it was from a goal I scored against Finland. They wrote in the paper that it flew in 'like a rocket' and it just stuck.''

Mind you, Rocket is probably better than the other nickname he picked up in Scotland - namely, Spanner.

According to his former manager at Dundee United, Ian McCall, Spanner came from one of the striker's tricks - a trick showcased by Ronaldinho but first pioneered by Scotland.

As McCall recalled at the time: "He does a thing called the Spanner, the thing Ronaldinho does, flicking the ball from his right foot to left.

"It is unbelievable. It's just incredible. He did it in a game against Motherwell, went past two players right in front of our punters. Now that means immediate adulation, no matter what. The fans adored him."

It was 'Scotty' that tended to stick north of the border though, while his new teammates at the Liberty are still trying out a few new ones . . . to see if he bites!

But with Scotland banging the goals in for fun at the moment, they won't want to upset him too much as he settles in to his new environment.

With last Friday's fixture at Cheltenham postponed, Scotland finally found some time to take stock of his move to Wales after a hectic few weeks - on and off the pitch.

Having agreed to become Roberto Martinez's first summer signing after fighting off competition from the likes of Hibernian, Birmingham, Southend and Hearts; Scotland had to put his proposed move to the Football League on hold while the Home Office reviewed his new work permit application.

It was a worrying time for Scotland after a previous work permit application was turned down following a two-year stint at Dundee United that saw him restricted to bench duty for long spells.

But at least the wait gave Scotland time to get married to sweetheart Nimphe in Scotland. What it didn't allow for, however, was the honeymoon as the work permit application was approved and the 28 year-old rushed from St Johnstone down to Swansea before boarding a plane with his new team-mates for a pre-season training camp in Sweden.

The honeymoon was put on hold and he was dragged away from his new bride. But while it wasn't exactly the best way to start married life, such was Scotland's determination to succeed in his foray into British football, it was a price he was willing to pay.

After all, he could have stayed in Scotland and enjoyed a relatively easy life after making a name for himself in Division One with 33 goals in 66 League appearances at McDiarmid Park.

But Scotland's rise through the footballing ranks has been far from straight-forward. He first caught the eye while a Malick schoolboy before going on to blossom on the senior stage with CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh and then Defence Force - the same team that produced Dennis Lawrence. In fact the pair played together before Lawrence left to join Wrexham.

A list of accolades in Trinidad and Tobago followed, including three Pro League top scorer titles and a Young Player of the Year award while he was an all-star at Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) level.

He found it hard to break on to the international scene though, stating at the time: "The coaches used to watch me and turn their face. It was real frustrating for me because I was the Pro League top scorer for about three seasons and players who were not scoring as much for their clubs were ahead of me.''

His chance on the international stage did eventually come and Scotland was part of the famous squad that led Trinidad and Tobago, with little more than one million inhabitants, to become the least populated nation to appear in a World Cup finals.

And few in his native homeland will ever forget Scotland's captivating performance at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in January 2003 against Finland that threatened to overshadow the protests of 19 senior players which almost derailed the international fixture.

But again his international career stalled and was one of the reasons why Scotland's work permit renewal was turned down having featured in less than 75 per cent of his country's international matches.

Dundee even claimed that the situation had arisen, not through lack of ability, but because former T&T coach Bertille St Clair had decided not to select the player owing to a dispute over his hairstyle!

"The coach wouldn't pick players with long hair,'' explained Scotland. "It was ridiculous really and certainly wouldn't happen over here.

"But that's the way it was sometimes in Trinidad. Carlos Edwards and Dennis Lawrence were also in the same boat as me. They both had long hair, but they had theirs cut and I didn't.

"Perhaps I was more stubborn than them, I don't know. It was frustrating and annoying not playing, but I stuck to my principles because I believe that a player should be judged on his ability, not the length of his hair.''

He certainly didn't have that problem in Scotland, although his career could have taken a different route before that after he left for China for a trial with Beijing Guoan.

He didn't enjoy the experience, admitting he wasn't in the best shape for the trip, while he also "didn't fancy it''. But he knew the time was right for him to leave Defence Force and try his luck abroad, eventually securing a two-year deal with the Tangerines after a successful trial.

But in many ways he wished he had made the move to Britain sooner.

"I remember when Dundee United first came in and offered me a trial," he recalls. "I had no idea where Scotland was or anything about the place, but my agent said being Jason Scotland in Scotland could make me a legend in the country.

"But I look at Dwight Yorke, who came to Britain when he was 17, and I definitely think I should have made the move earlier.

"It took me a while to adapt to the game in Scotland. It was certainly a lot more physical than football in Trinidad and the tempo was a lot higher.

"But I'm used to the British game now and really enjoying my time at Swansea. Everything was such a rush in the beginning, especially making the move from Scotland.

"When I moved from Dundee to St Johnstone it was only a couple of miles down the road. Driving to Swansea took me nearly eight hours a time.

"But it's been worth it. I was relieved when the news came through that my application was accepted. After what happened to me at Dundee United when my work permit was turned down, I knew anything could happen.

"I had set my mind on coming to Swansea, so I would have been devastated if it didn't happen.

"It had been set up for a while. Obviously I knew Dennis was here, Swansea needed a striker and we share the same agent. All those things came together and here I am.

"In fact, the first person I turned to for advice was Dennis. We are good pals from our days together with T&T and I've got the utmost respect for him.

"He told me Swansea was a massive club; had a fantastic stadium; tremendous support; was in a nice area and the players were a great bunch of lads.

"He couldn't speak highly enough about the club - and that was good enough for me. Then when I came down to have a look at the stadium I was more than impressed.

"Everything he told me has turned out to be true. I came into a very welcoming environment and obviously I've been delighted to get some goals under my belt.

"In fact, it's gone better than I thought. The standard of the football is probably on a par with the Scottish Premier League - apart from Rangers, Celtic and maybe one or two other clubs - and I've been really impressed with the quality of the players in the Swansea squad and the football we are trying to play.

"I'm sure the wins will start to come on a more regular basis and we'll be climbing that table sooner rather than later.''

n the meantime, Scotland will be looking to continue his hot streak - on and off the pitch.

As well as leading the way in the goalscoring charts, Scotland is currently the club champion in the Playstation Pro-Evolution Soccer stakes. Or so he says!

Darryl Duffy, Garry Monk, Dorus de Vries, Angel Rangel, Guillem Bauza, Andrea Orlandi, Kevin Amankwaah and Scotland are all vying for the number one spot on the computer.

At the moment, Scotland is out in front with four wins out of six.

And the worst player? "That has to be Dorus,'' laughs Scotland. "Don't tell him though.''