Dunfermline coach Steven Whittaker knows better than most what must be going through the mind of Rangers starlet Nathan Patterson.
An attack-minded right-back, fresh from winning a top-flight title with the Glasgow giants, seeking to make his mark for Scotland — Whittaker has run a mile in those boots.
Granted, Whittaker, at 24 years of age, was a relative veteran when he made his international debut against Norway in 2009 when compared to Patterson at just 19. However, the nerves and excitement will be comparable.
And as the precocious teenager prepares to take part in Scotland’s first finals in 23 years — a dream Whittaker was unable to realise — he is adamant it will be an invaluable learning curve.
“These are the things we want to see,” said the new Pars first-team coach. “Get these young, talented players mixing in there and get them some minutes on the park. The experience he’ll get from that will be phenomenal.
“He’s in a great environment to go and play and showcase his talent at Rangers, and the opportunity to be involved with Scotland at such a young age can only help him.
“Some of Rangers’ play last season was fantastic and the fact the manager [Steven Gerrard] has no hesitation in putting Patterson in the team — trusting that he’s capable of doing a job — shows the talent he has.”
‘I’ll be texting John McGinn’
Scotland step up their preparations for Euro 2020 with a friendly against Luxembourg on Sunday evening, with anticipation for the group opener against Czech Republic simmering away nicely.
Whittaker, who endured plenty of heartbreak during his 31 caps, could even be forgiven for feeling a pang of envy.
However, he is adamant nothing could be further for the truth — even if his old teammates Grant Hanley and John McGinn may soon receive a text message looking for tickets.
“Envy? Not at all. I don’t think you can be like that when you’re Scottish and had the wait we’ve had!” Added Whittaker. “I can’t wait to cheer on the boys like everyone else.
“I still text boys like Grant [Hanley] and John McGinn, who I played with at Hibs — I’ll be texting him for some tickets! I keep in touch with Craig Gordon, too, and I’m delighted for them all.
“We’ve got a great level of player at the moment — a lot of players at the top level — and it is showing in the results and performances.
“Steve Clarke has done a great job since he’s been in there to get them all singing from the same hymn sheet.”
That feeling of positivity echoes the mood of the nation. Why shouldn’t progression through the group stage — minimum — be possible?
“Look at the result against the Netherlands,” he added. “We showed right throughout the 90 minutes that we were competing, if not the better team on the night.
“Tournament football will be different and there will be more of a competitive edge, but we should be optimistic.”