Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay believes Sunday’s showdown with Celtic offers him the perfect opportunity to show Steve Clarke he is ready for a Scotland recall.
The Killie centre-back was handed his first cap by his old Rugby Park boss against San Marino back in October and even got on the scoresheet during the 6-0 rout.
But a hamstring injury ruled him out of the following month’s double-header against Cyprus and Kazakhstan, while Clarke then had his own frustrations to deal with after seeing his side’s Euro 2020 play-off put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.
Scotland will back in action next month, however, when they kick off their new Nations League campaign against Israel and the Czech Republic.
Findlay hopes to persuade Clarke to include him by shutting down former club Celtic when the Hoops visit Ayrshire.
The 24-year-old said: “It’s probably a good time to play this kind of game if you want to prove your merits.
“If I can go out on Sunday and play well then hopefully it will help my chances with Scotland.
“I got a taste of the international set-up last year but then I got my injury and missed the next squad. I don’t know if I’d definitely have been involved but the injury took it out of my hands.
“Now I’m fit again but it’s still not my call whether I’ll be involved as it’s not me who picks the squad.
“But if I can perform in a high-calibre game like Sunday’s then it won’t do me any harm.”
Findlay’s prospects could be determined by how well he handles Odsonne Edouard.
The Frenchman started the new campaign in ominous form, helping himself to a hat-trick in the Hoops’ 5-1 drubbing of Accies last week.
But Findlay insists there will be no fear as he shapes up to last season’s player of the year – only respect.
“If you go into a game thinking a guy is unstoppable then nine times out of 10 he will do something to hurt you, so you can’t go in with that attitude,” he said.
“I’ll be the first to admit I respect him massively as a football player.
“I’ve said openly before he’s the best player I think I’ve played against in this league.
“But at the same time I trust myself as a player. I know he’s going to give me a very difficult game.
“However, I need to go into the game fully expecting I can handle him and show my qualities.
“I think that’s important if we want to get a win. It’s not only me against Edouard – all around the park we have to step up to the one-on-one battles and show what we’re all about.”