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Kai Fotheringham outlines ‘big inspiration’ as Dundee United starlet opens up on ‘surreal’ starring role

Fotheringham scored twice as United beat Airdrie 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Kai Fotheringham prepares for a Dundee United fixture
Kai Fotheringham has contributed to 10 goals already this season. Image: SNS

Kai Fotheringham admits the prospect of Scotland U21 recognition is an “inspiring” one.

However, his top priority is continuing to star for Dundee United.

Fotheringham, 20, is enjoying a scintillating period of form with the Terrors, notching four goals in his last five Championship appearances.

Whether that proves to be enough to earn a place in Scot Gemmill’s group for the upcoming fixtures against Belgium (Nov 17) and Hungary (Nov 21) remains to be seen — but he is staking a compelling claim.

Dundee United players toast Kai Fotheringham's close-range strike
United players toast Fotheringham’s close-range strike. Image: SNS

Teammates Jack Newman, Chris Mochrie and Archie Meekison have all earned Scotland U21 calls in 2023, illustrating that Championship status is no barrier to selection.

And Owen Stirton, Scott Constable (U17s) and Rory MacLeod (U19s) have pulled on the Dark Blue in recent months.

“I’ve been away with an under-19s squad before, but I’ve never played for Scotland — and that is something I push towards,” said Fotheringham.

“I see boys like Archie (Meekison), Mochs (Chris Mochrie), Jack Newman and, before that, Lewis Neilson getting called up.

“It is a big inspiration for me to play for my country. If I keep doing what I’m doing then I’ll hopefully catch the eye of the Scotland under-21 manager.

Archie Meekison in action for Scotland U21s.
Proud moment: Meekison made his U21s bow last season. Image: SNS

“But it’s not the be-all and end-all for me. That is playing regularly for Dundee United and ensuring I’m performing well enough to keep my place in the squad.”

Fotheringham: It’s a surreal feeling

Fotheringham was deservedly named man of the match following his double against Airdrieonians on Tuesday evening, rising to the challenge of keeping the precocious Mathew Cudjoe out of the side.

He now boasts 10 scoring contributions — six goals and four assists — in 15 appearances for United this term.

It is the sort of clinical effectiveness that saw him afforded a first-team opportunity with United last season, on the back of five goals and 12 assists on loan at Stirling Albion during the first half of 2022/23.

But the feeling of hitting those heights for United, having emerged through the academy, remains nothing short of “surreal”.

“When you have this confidence, you feel better and you play better,” continued Fotheringham.

“I felt that last year at Stirling Albion; I had a lot of confidence when I was scoring and assisting goals — and that’s coming into my game now at Dundee United.

“I should have had a couple more goals the previous Friday night (against Arbroath) and I was just delighted to get two at Airdrie.

Kai Fotheringham was the match-winner for Dundee United in Lanarkshire
Fotheringham was the match-winner in Lanarkshire. Image: SNS

“The feeling of hitting the net and watching the fans celebrate is still a bit surreal! I’ve always dreamed of playing for a big club like Dundee United, scoring goals and giving the fans something to enjoy.

“I feel I’m doing that right now, but I need to keep my head down and keep working hard.”

Big Dunc’s return given short shrift

That will continue when Duncan Ferguson’s Inverness Caldeonian Thistle visit Tannadice on Saturday.

While there will be plenty of hype around the return of Big Dunc, Fotheringham’s focus is a pragmatic one.

Inverness manager Duncan Ferguson
Duncan Ferguson returns to Tannadice on Saturday. Image: Sandy McCook/DCT Media

He added: “It’s just another game of football. We take everything game by game, and keep a level head. That’s what we’ll do again on Saturday.

It’s 14 games unbeaten going into Saturday and we are determined to pick up three points in front of the home crowd.”