Stuart Armstrong believes showing patience will pay off in his quest to become an English Premier League regular.
The Aberdeen-raised midfielder joined Southampton in the summer in a £7 million move from Celtic.
That transfer was well received in the Granite City, with Armstrong’s former team Dyce Boy’s Club receiving a six-figure fee due to Fifa regulations on player development.
So far, the Scotland international has been limited to six appearances for the St Mary’s outfit – with only two as starts.
However, Armstrong believes his move down south will pay off.
The 26-year-old says moving to the Premier League has been a step up.
And he’s not short of competition, with Steven Davis, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Mario Lemina and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all playing in his position.
But Armstrong is biding his time in his quest to become a regular starter. He said: “It’s been a bit of a change for me joining Southampton.
“It’s a different environment and a different league.
“I’m trying to be patient and wait for my place in the team and hopefully that comes over the next few weeks and months.
“I’ll just keep working hard and try to get into the team.
“It’s a new environment and there is a lot of competition for places, especially in the middle of the park.
“That’s something I need to work towards (getting into the first team).”
Armstrong was back north of the border on Sunday when he started for Scotland in the 3-1 friendly defeat to Portugal at Hampden.
It was the former Dundee United player’s eighth cap for his country.
After missing out on last Thursday’s dismal 2-1 UEFA Nations League defeat to Israel in Haifa, Armstrong was pleased to return to Alex McLeish’s side, but unhappy with the outcome.
He added: “It’s always nice to start games for Scotland. When you start games, you want to stay in there.
“That is pleasing for me personally, but overall it was disappointing to come away with nothing from the game.”
Armstrong felt there were some positives to be taken from Sunday’s display against a second-string Portuguese side at the National Stadium.
He felt the Scots performed well in the first period before falling behind to Helder Costa’s goal just prior to half-time.
In the second period, Eder added a second with a header from a free-kick and Bruma bagged the third after punishing Jack Hendry’s error in trying to play out from defence.
Steven Naismith scored an injury-time consolation after latching on to Gary Mackay-Steven’s back-heel.
Armstrong said: “I think the first half was really good in terms of our passing and moving.
“We created some chances and controlled the game.
“We were disappointed to let in a goal so close to half-time and that killed us a little bit.
“The free-kick for the second goal was disappointing to concede so easily from a set-piece.
“It didn’t feel like a 3-1 game to us. It felt like it was closer than that and looking at it overall, it was slightly improved from the disappointing result on Thursday.”
Gothenburg Great McLeish’s squad changed between the Israel and Portugal games with Kieran Tierney, John Souttar, Robert Snodgrass and former Don Charlie Mulgrew dropping out.
Aberdeen’s Mikey Devlin and Mackay-Steven came in along with former Don Ryan Christie.
Armstrong can understand call-offs due to the congested nature of international breaks, but believes it’s important Scotland utilise the size of their squad.
He said: “There’s not a lot of time to fit in the Nations League and friendly games during the international break.
“They are always going to be tight and close together.
“We have a big squad and it’s about using our squad for different games and improving.”