Lewis Ferguson received the birthday present he has been craving after being named in the Scotland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The Aberdeen midfielder, who turned 22 today, has been called up for the first time by national team boss Steve Clarke.
Ferguson has been knocking on the door for the last two years. Clarke has admitted as such previously.
But with three goals in seven games so far and with his club sitting joint top of the Scottish Premiership Ferguson’s time has come.
Not soon enough.
Ferguson is no overnight success. He has been a fixture in the Aberdeen team since day one. An unheralded arrival from Hamilton Accies, he has developed into one of the first names on the teamsheet at Pittodrie.
He was named young player of the year in 2020 by the Scottish Football Writers Association and made the shortlist for the accolade again this year.
Both managers he has worked with at Pittodrie – McInnes and Stephen Glass – have followed a very simple rule when it comes to the exceptionally reliable Ferguson; if he is fit he plays.
Glass has left him out of his starting line-up once, for the Premier Sports Cup tie at Raith Rovers, a game the Dons lost 2-1.
Why he plays regularly is evident every time you see him in action. All Aberdeen’s play goes through the midfielder, to the extent as his influence on the team increases so too does the size of the target on his back.
Dundee United shut him down at every opportunity on the opening day of the season, taking it turns to foul him it seemed. Hearts followed a similar playbook at Tynecastle on Sunday.
But you get the impression Ferguson takes it as a compliment. He dusts himself down, gets back to his feet and goes again.
Those characteristics are exactly what is surely appealing to Scotland manager Clarke.
Kenny McLean and Stuart Armstrong will be 32 by the time Clarke’s new deal ends in 2024. No-one is putting the two Premier League players out to pasture anytime soon but it would be remiss of Clarke not to have one eye on the future.
John McGinn has come in and made an instant impact while Billy Gilmour’s remarkable display against England at the Euros has made him a cult hero of the Tartan Army.
With David Turnbull also in the squad and Ferguson now in the frame the midfield is one area where Clarke is clearly well served.
But make no mistake, if Ferguson’s desire at the Dons is anything to go by, he will not be knocking on the international door, he will break it down at the first opportunity.