Aberdeen-raised midfielder Stuart Armstrong today admitted his dream Scotland debut has him fired up to face England.
The Celtic star was thrown in at the deep end in the must-win World Cup Group F qualifier against Slovenia.
Armstrong was pivotal in delivering the needed victory that kept hopes of Russia 2018 alive and ensured under-fire boss Gordon Strachan retained his job.
Such was the impact of Armstrong against Slovenia, boss Strachan hailed it as one of the best Scotland debuts he had seen.
Now Armstrong aims to maintain both his own, and Scotland’s, momentum against Group F leaders England at Hampden on June 10.
He said: “It was a very proud moment for me and my family for me to get that first Scotland cap. My family were at Hampden to watch me and the cap will be a nice memento.
“Now the squad are all looking towards England which is a massive match and all the boys will be up for it.
“It is the game our fans want to see and we are now in a much better position in Group F going into that.
“We want to continue this momentum now against England and for the rest of the campaign.”
Armstrong served his footballing apprenticeship at Dyce Boys Club in Aberdeen, joining when he turned 13. He spent five years there and also trained with Aberdeen alongside players like Fraser Fyvie and Nicky Low. The Dons offered him a contract but he had already committed to Inverness.
It will be frustrating for the Red Army that two of the nation’s stand-out players this season received their football schooling in the Granite City.
Former Dons winger Ryan Fraser has been in sensational form with Bournemouth in the English Premier League.
The 24-year-old was set to receive his debut cap in the 1-1 draw against Canada last week but was ruled out after his knee swelled up on the day of the friendly.
It is a mark of Armstrong’s impact this season that Strachan was willing to hand him a debut in such a high-pressure World Cup qualifier.
Armstrong said: “Against Slovenia we were under no illusions that it was a must win as we needed three points.
“I didn’t think too much about the size of the game, I just focused on my football and on how best I could influence the game.
“Thankfully we got the three points that we needed and we deserved them.”
Revitalised under Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, Armstrong has been the driving force behind their procession to the Premiership title.
Under previous Parkhead manager Ronny Deila, the former Dundee United play-maker had been utilised mainly in a wide area.
Deila’s decision diluted Armstrong’s potential.
When Rodgers arrived in the summer he moved Armstrong into a central midfield role – and it was a switch crucial to the romp to a sixth straight title.
Armstrong said: “It has been a very good season and Brendan Rodgers has been great for me, coming in and allowing me to play central midfield.
“I am really developing my game and am in a happy place at the moment, and also enjoyed the Scotland experience.
“I try not to dwell on the past and don’t over-think things, I just keep looking forward and keep trying to improve.
“I am feeling really good in myself at the moment at both club and international level.
“I just think of my role in the team at Celtic and Scotland and on what I can do best to influence games and contribute to success.”
Celtic can secure the Premiership League crown on Friday without kicking a ball, if Aberdeen, the team he once trained with, lose to Dundee at Dens Park.
Armstrong will not watch the live broadcast.
He said: “I will just concentrate on my own thing on Friday night, I won’t watch the Dundee-Aberdeen game.
“We don’t want to look at other games, we just focus on ourselves and make sure we do our best to make sure success happens.”
Undefeated domestically this season Celtic are gunning for a treble having already won the League Cup, defeating Aberdeen 3-0 in the final last November.
Scotland boss Gordon Strachan turned to the in-form Hoops for the Slovenia game, with Armstrong one of six Celtic players in the starting line-up.
Keeper Craig Gordon, skipper Scott Brown, Keiran Tierney, Leigh Griffiths and James Forrest were all on from the start at Hampden.
Armstrong said: “Having so many Celtic players in the squad and the team can only help.
“There was that familiarity which always helps but we work and bond really well as a team.”
Armstrong is studying for a Law degree through the Open University to secure his future after football.
Contracted until summer 2018, his long-term future at Parkhead is also close to being secured with the club and his representatives locked in talks for a new deal. He said: “The club and my representatives are in negotiations and things are going well.”