Former Don Lawrence Shankland thought his Scotland call-up may have been a wind-up.
Now the Dundee United striker is deadly serious about making his mark at international level.
The Dark Blues tackle Russia in Moscow on Thursday and San Marino on Sunday at Hampden with hopes of reaching Euro 2020 through qualifying Group I all but over.
As a result national team manager Steve Clarke has experimented and surprisingly called up Shankland.
The marksman left Aberdeen in the summer of 2017 and after two good seasons with Ayr United in League One and the Championship the 24-year-old earned a move to fellow second-tier side Dundee United.
Fifteen goals this term have seen him rewarded with international recognition. But when Shankland discovered he was in the Dark Blues’ squad he thought it might be a joke by some of his Tangerine team-mates.
He said: “I got a text message giving me the heads-up 10 minutes before the squad was announced.
“But I didn’t know if it was a wind-up because it came from a number at the club I didn’t have saved in my phone.
“I still don’t know who it was. I just said ‘cheers’ in my text because I didn’t want them to know I didn’t have their number.
“It just said ‘you will hear news in the next 10 minutes’ – I only realised it wasn’t a wind-up when I saw the squad announced when Scotland tweeted it.
“There was a rumour floating around that I was getting called up and when I got the text I thought it was maybe true.
“I thought it might have been my team-mates at the wind-up but it turns out it wasn’t.
“But I don’t want to say that in case they are hurt that I don’t have their number saved.”
Now he’s in the Scotland squad Shankland believes he can score goals at the highest level if he gets a chance against Russia or San Marino.
He added: “That’s what I am here for. I’m part of the squad and I’d like to be part of the team.
“I just want to go out and try to perform in training. If it goes well then it will take care of itself.
“You can’t get any higher than playing against top international players. It’s something I thrive on.
“I want to play at the highest level I possibly can and I want to test myself against the best and see where I am really at.
“If the opportunity comes I will look forward to it.
“As a striker it’s about getting yourself in the position to score goals and nine times out of 10 I will be in the right position to score goals.
“So yes, I back myself that way. I’m not saying I will score every chance but if I get into the right positions I’ve got a good chance of converting.”
Shankland joined Aberdeen from Queen’s Park in 2013. In four years at Pittodrie he made 17 first-team appearances without scoring.
He also spent time on loan at Dunfermline, St Mirren and Morton with mixed results. Two years ago he joined Ayr and many believe that move was the turning point in his career.
He said: “It was off the back of a hard season out on loan that did not really work out for me, then I left Aberdeen.
“I didn’t have many options but thankfully Ayr gave me the opportunity to play games and I really kicked on from there.
“I didn’t really notice it myself, I just went out and did it. But people will say that’s the moment when the penny dropped for me.”
Russia beat Scotland 2-1 at Hampden last month and Shankland said: “I watched it and it was tough.
“They are a right good side.
“I didn’t watch it thinking I would be in the next squad. But I saw enough of them to know how good a team they are.”