Winger Ryan Hedges hopes his performances for Aberdeen can continue to earn him international recognition.
Hedges has once again been called up to Ryan Giggs’s Wales squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan and friendly against Belarus, both set to take place in Cardiff.
The 24-year-old, who signed for the Dons after leaving Barnsley, has played in all six Europa League preliminary games and both Premiership matches for Derek McInnes’s side.
The wide man – who has shown he can deliver quality balls into the area and scored against Hearts – was expected to start on league business at Kilmarnock today.
His most recent Wales call-up comes on the back of three caps he has already earned, and Hedges thinks regular game time for the Reds – including in the high-profile Europa League qualifiers – has kept him in Manchester United legend Giggs’s thoughts.
Hedges said: “I’m delighted to have made the squad for the qualifier coming up and can’t wait to get going.
“I think playing games has been the main catalyst.
“If you’re playing games and performing well you’re giving yourself the opportunity to be seen.
“Hopefully I can continue getting in the Welsh squad.”
There are two league games – today against Killie and next weekend at home to Ross County – before Hedges meets up with the Wales squad and he says Aberdeen “want to get six points” from those.
The optimism about the campaign which followed his winner in the 3-2 victory over Hearts has been dampened by the 4-0 aggregate loss to Rijeka and 1-0 league loss at St Mirren.
McInnes’ side struggled to an extra-time Betfred Cup win over second-tier Dundee on Sunday, and Hedges insists they can no longer hide behind excuses like fatigue as they try to rediscover the dynamic, free-flowing football they showed just a few weeks ago.
Hedges said: “We were off Monday and Tuesday, so we’ve had a few days.
“I think the performance (at Dundee) wasn’t to the standard we expect, but the main thing is we’re through and now we’ve got to look forward to the next round in the League Cup and to today.
“When the games come thick and fast, there’s a lot of things to overcome and the travelling out to Croatia probably didn’t help as well.
“But you want to be playing Thursday and Sunday, because it means you’re still in Europe, obviously that’s not the case anymore, but playing with 10 men on Thursday probably didn’t help going into Sunday.
“I don’t think we can hide behind that – we should’ve done a lot better and hopefully we can put it right today.
“On the whole, everyone to a man could’ve given a better performance.
“I can’t say there were any stand-out performances.
“Cossy (Sam Cosgrove) is scoring goals, but there’s a lot more the team can give as a whole and hopefully we can do that.”
Today was set to be a novelty for Hedges as he’d never played competitive football on an artificial pitch.
Angelo Alessio’s Kilmarnock, who will also be new to him, have a newly-laid 4G surface at Rugby Park.
Hedges said: “I’ve never been to Kilmarnock and it’ll be a whole new experience playing on 4G as well.
“It’s one I’m looking forward to and something I’ll need to get used to playing in this league.”
He added: “They’ve got a new manager in who’s trying to change the way they play this season.
“We know it’s going to be a hard game, but we need to go there trying to get three points.”