Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin has revealed his gratitude to Scotland boss Steve Clarke for showing faith in him.
Centre-back Devlin has been named in Clarke’s 25-man squad to face Cyprus and Kazakhstan in the final Group I Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Aberdeen centre-back partner Scott McKenna also returns to the Scotland set-up having missed the last two squads through injury.
A hamstring tear ruled McKenna out of last month’s qualifiers against Russia and San Marino.
McKenna’s absence was part of a centre-back injury crisis and Clarke turned to Devlin, pitching him in for a debut cap in the 4-0 loss to Russia in Moscow.
Devlin retained his starting spot for the 6-0 defeat of San Marino at Hampden a few days later.
Devlin said: “I am very grateful to Steve Clarke for giving me an opportunity.
“You just have to keep working and doing the right things.
“I have been fortunate in that I have been selected in previous squads.
“It is just about trying to train well and hope that opportunity comes. When it does, to also be in the position to take it.”
Devlin was set to earn a debut cap last November when named in former manager Alex McLeish’s squad to face Albania in the Uefa Nations League.
He was expected to be on from the start for that game. However, the defender’s international cap dream was put on ice when he suffered an ankle injury while training with the Scots days before the Albania game.
He had to pull out of the Scotland squad and an injury initially thought to be innocuous ultimately ruled Devlin out for three months.
Almost a year after that setback Devlin finally made his Scotland debut when starting in Russia.
He never gave up hope of securing that first cap.
Devlin said: “That was really frustrating, as I felt I was about to get that first cap at that point.
“I try to think everything happens for a reason.
“Sometimes you don’t know what that is but you just have to put your faith in where you are going and what your journey is. Fortunately, almost a year on, I managed to get those first caps.”
Having started five consecutive games since returning from a hamstring injury, Devlin’s centre-back partner at club level McKenna is set to start against Cyprus.
McKenna is one of five players selected by Clarke who have returned having missed last month’s qualifiers through injury.
Clarke also welcomed back Hearts striker Steven Naismith, who featured as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 League Cup semi-final loss to Rangers. It was his first game time for 10 weeks.
Clarke said: “He (Naismith) hasn’t played much but I spoke to him and his fitness is good.
“He expects to start the next game and he’ll be a good addition to the squad.”
Also returning from injury are Rangers’ Ryan Jack, the former Aberdeen captain, Oli McBurnie (Sheffield United) and Liam Cooper (Leeds United).
Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney is absent from Clarke’s squad.
Clarke revealed Arsenal requested Tierney again be left out of international duty despite now being a regular in Unai Emery’s side.
Tierney underwent surgery on a double hernia before making a £25 million move to Arsenal during the summer. He started for Arsenal at the weekend.
Clarke said: “Kieran’s got an ongoing issue that Arsenal are keen to address in the next international break and Arsenal asked us not to select him. It’s a little bit frustrating and it’s obviously frustrating for Kieran as well.”