Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin was today urged to make the most of his unexpected Scotland call-up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Russia and Belgium.
Uncapped Devlin, 25, was called into Steve Clarke’s squad just 24 hours after his first game action for the Reds in six weeks.
Devlin’s start in the 3-0 defeat of Ross County at the weekend was his first Dons game time since sustaining a hamstring injury in the 2-1 defeat of RoPS on July 11.
Scotland assistant Steven Reid insists the late call is an opportunity to show his international credentials that he must grab.
Reid said: “It is not ideal when you have members who would have been in the original squad and they have to pull out for various reasons.
“At the same time it is an opportunity for those who do come in.
“An injury or another reason to pull out of the squad at club level as well means there is an opportunity for someone to come in and take their chance, and that’s usually the case.
“It is quite rare you get an opportunity through some other reason – usually it’s an injury or if someone is struggling for form and you have to take the opportunity if called upon.”
Devlin was drafted into Clarke’s Scotland squad along with fellow centre-back David Bates of Hamburg, who is on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
The call-up arrived on Sunday.
The defensive duo were called in after Norwich City’s Grant Hanley and another Wednesday player, Liam Palmer, pulled out through injury.
Aberdeen centre-back Scott McKenna was ruled out of the Euro 2020 Hampden games having suffered a hamstring tear in the 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock.
McKenna is set to be out for up to three weeks.
Centre-backs John Souttar (Hearts) and Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) are also injured.
Devlin has been involved with the Scotland squad previously but has yet to be capped.
Having recovered from a serious knee injury sustained at former club Hamilton that ruled him out for a year, Devlin’s form for the Dons earned him a maiden call-up to the international squad last November.
He was set to earn his debut cap in the UEFA Nations League ties against Albania and Israel under former boss Alex McLeish.
However, Devlin suffered an ankle injury while training with the international squad in the build-up to those qualifiers.
That ruled him out of the ties. It would also have long running ramifications as Devlin would miss the League Cup final loss to Celtic and would eventually be ruled out for three months.
Now, after a fresh injury set back, Devlin is back and is offered the chance to impress.
Reid, capped 23 times for his country, insists late call-ups can provide the catalyst for a successful international career.
He said: “For myself, I went to the World Cup (2002 with Republic of Ireland) and I was not even in the original squad.
“Injury meant I went and I was the first substitute on in the first game against Cameroon.”
Reid is confident Scotland can cope with the defensive injury withdrawals against Russia and a Belgium.
He said: “There is no question we can still deal with that and there’s still a lot of quality there throughout the pitch.
“Hopefully those that do get an opportunity come the Russia and Belgium games take their chance.
“Our job as a staff is to get the ideas how we approach a game and how we play and get them organised pretty quickly.
“It is about cramming as much information, detail, videos and work on the training pitch as possible to get them as prepared as possible for the games.”