The ex-SPFL star falling for football again Down Under

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Jason Cummings talks to The Early Kick-Off, tonight, 6pm AEDT, beIN 3! Foxtel, Kayo, Fetch & beIN SPORTS CONNECT

Eight months after signing for Central Coast Mariners from Dundee, the colourful and charismatic one-time maverick of Scottish football has rebooted his fortunes to such an extent he’s now in the conversation to land a World Cup spot.

A goal on debut off the bench in last week’s  2-0 friendly win over New Zealand - albeit from the penalty spot - highlighted Cummings’s resurgence after his future lay in the balance having been told he was unwanted at Dens Park.

Enter Mariners coach Nick Montgomery to offer a lifeline, which Cummings has gleefully grabbed with 10 goals in 21 appearances.

“Before I came here I was falling out of love for football a wee bit - I was sat on the bench and things weren’t really going my way,” Cummings said. “I wasn’t really getting that chance - so I can’t thank the gaffer (Montgomery) enough for giving me that opportunity.

“Before I came he said he really wanted me here and that I’d play games and get my confidence back, and he was exactly right.

“It’s really down to him that I got the call up with the Socceroos.”

Scotland-born Cummings, 27, has scaled several highs amid plenty of plateaus on a journey that’s seen him venture from Hibernian to Nottingham Forest, with pitstops at Rangers, Peterborough and Luton Town.

Zany off-pitch antics have sometimes overshadowed the qualities he offers as a proven goal getter.

“I’ve seen it my whole career now, there are a lot of ups and downs in football. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows,” Cummings said. “A lot of things can happen at different clubs. The manager might not like you, you get injured, you might not fit the formation or like the place where you’re living.

“I’ve always been fit and ready to go - and difference for me coming here is that I have a manager who believes in me and he’s giving that opportunity.”

Speaking ahead of his team's A-League season opener against Newcastle Jets, Cummings knows if the goals continue to flow he’ll remain in the plans of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold as he muses the make-up of his 26-man World Cup squad.

“I’m proud to have made my Socceroos debut and hopefully this is just the beginning of my International career,” Cummings said. “It’s always been something I wanted and even years ago there was a chance but it didn’t quite happen.

“One of the main reasons for me coming to Australia was to try and get a call up - I wanted to be here playing, so everyone could see me week-in week-out.

“And I was lucky enough to get that chance. I just need to score a few goals and do well at the start of this season I’m in there. Fingers crossed.

“I always back myself to score - I’m always in the right place at the right time and I give 110 per cent to any team I play for.”

Cummings would love to see Newcastle United-bound teammate Garang Kuol join him on the plane to Qatar after his electrifying cameo against the Kiwis.

“Garang has done brilliant in his career so far - he has that big move coming up now to Newcastle,” Cummings said.

“But he needs to now just concentrate on his time left at the Mariners and I know he’ll do everything he can to impress Arnie. He’s more than capable of playing for the Socceroos.

“Hopefully we can both get there together. He’s not a kid to get carried away with himself. 

“He’s humble and ambitious and has bags of ability.”