Callum Morris would have loved to have swapped Buckie for San Marino this weekend, but the Dunfermline skipper remains determined to keep his international dreams alive.
Twelve months ago the 27-year-old won a first call-up for Northern Ireland – who faced San Marino last night – during an otherwise frustrating spell with Aberdeen.
The one-time Republic of Ireland under-21 cap, who qualifies for both countries through his parents, was an unused substitute for a goalless draw away to the Czech Republic and was back on the bench for the 2-0 defeat to Germany in October.
They are great experiences the former Newcastle United trainee is desperate to repeat and he is hopeful he can again catch the eye of Edinburgh-based manager Michael O’Neill with his displays for Dunfermline.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s Irn-Bru Cup tie with Highland League side Buckie Thistle, Morris said: “When I first got the call-up at Aberdeen I thought they were joking. We were in training and I thought they were messing, but then I got the email through.
“It gave me a lift at the time and the boost to go back with a point to prove.
“When it happened, it was great, to get the chance to sit on the bench against Germany. It was amazing and it makes you hungry to do it again.
“Obviously they’re away at the moment and it would have been nice to have been involved with it.
“But my main focus is on here and only performances will get me into that set-up.
“It was nice to be involved in it but you have to merit it, and if you look at the players in there I’m probably not quite there.
“But that’s up to me to change that and I can only do that by putting in performances here, and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do.
“It’s nice to know you’re thought of in those kinds of circles and it’s definitely something to aim for.”
Dunfermline, who defeated their hosts 5-3 in last season’s Scottish Cup, head north in a rich vein of form.
Morris added: “We wanted a good start, and we’ve got that.
“We’ve got the mentality this season that, regardless of who or where we’re playing, we can win a game and we’re positive going into games.
“We’re top of the league, but we can’t get carried away. It’s a good start but that’s all it is.
“The manager’s going to change the team up against Buckie, and other boys are going to get a deserved run-out, but hopefully we can get another win and keep the momentum going.”