Scotland boss Steve Clarke has declared that Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland “deserves his chance” at international level.
The Tannadice goalscorer has been named in the Scots’ squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Russia and San Marino this month.
It is a rich reward for the 13 league goals, and 15 overall, that he has bagged for United so far this season.
Speaking at the official announcement at Hampden, Clarke talked warmly of the frontman and had no qualms about his operating at Championship level.
The Scotland gaffer said: “Obviously he’s a goalscorer – he’s in form.
“I know Lawrence quite well from my time here in Scotland having watched him a few times, and it’s not an area that we are overburdened with top strikers.
“Lawrence is in form and deserves his chance.
“The best way to look at him and gauge what level he is at is to bring him into the squad.
“It’s an opportunity to have him in the group, see how he works in the squad and hopefully he can score a few goals for us.”
Shankland has replaced injured Hearts frontman Steven Naismith in the pool and Clarke added: “If you’re in form and a goalscorer, obviously he is going to come into the group with a lot of confidence.
“He scores goals with his head, left foot, right foot. He’s a natural finisher and that’s something maybe we haven’t had in the squad recently.
“So hopefully this will address that.”
Elsewhere, Sheffield United’s John Fleck has replaced ex-United man Stuart Armstrong after making five Premier League starts this season for the Blades and impressing in a 1-0 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday.
Armstrong has dropped out after struggling to get into the Southampton starting line-up.
Oli Burke has been playing on loan for Alaves and he takes the place of West Brom clubmate Matt Phillips, who will get a minor injury treated during the international break.
There is no place for ex-Celtic star Kieran Tierney after the left-back made his Arsenal debut last week following a lengthy spell out with pelvic trouble.
“I was close to selecting Kieran,” admitted Clarke.
“Arsenal have indicated to us they would prefer us not to select him at this time because he has only played 70 minutes of football.”
Grant Hanley of Norwich makes the squad after pulling out last time through injury, with fellow centre-backs Liam Cooper, Charlie Mulgrew and Michael Devlin retaining their places.
Scotland face Russia in Moscow on October 10 before hosting San Marino at Hampden three days later.