Oli McBurnie’s two biggest fans are enjoying parental payback by following him to the Americas to see him live the dream of playing for Scotland.
The 21-year-old Swansea striker’s mother and father, Emma and Neil, were in the Estadio Nacional on Tuesday night to see their son come off the bench to win his third cap in the 2-0 defeat by Peru.
Both will be in the Azteca Stadium tonight to witness cap number four against Mexico, another side on its way to the World Cup in Russia.
McBurnie, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Barnsley, is delighted to see his parents reap the benefit of years of transporting him and his younger brother Zander to training and games.
He said: “My old man came to every under-21s game I played in – Latvia, Ukraine, everywhere – and he loves it.
“He and my mum were at the Peru game and they will be in Mexico at the weekend.
“It is nice for them, they are proud and it is good that they have come to these two games. It is not the shortest trip either.
“My dad gets a bit nervous at games, he is my harshest critic behind myself.
“No one is allowed to say anything bad about me, just him.
“But they have encouraged me from the start. I wouldn’t be where I was today if it wasn’t for what they did, taking me and my brother to training every night for years.
“Thankfully it has paid off. They are really proud and I will keep trying to make them as proud as I can.”
McBurnie was born in Leeds but qualifies for his country through his Scottish-born father and there will not be a prouder Scot in Mexico City.
He said: “International football is the pinnacle. As a kid you dream of playing for Scotland and at 21 I have played three times now.
“I’ve had a taste and you just want to play as much as you can.
“These games in the summer are great to be involved in and to stake a claim for the big games when they come up. It is a learning curve.”
Dark Blues boss Alex McLeish has flagged up major changes to his side, saying there is “no way” some players can recover in time.
Lewis Stevenson and Matt Phillips are already away home because of prior engagements.
McLeish has declared he will call on Celtic defender Jack Hendry, Aberdeen midfielder Graeme Shinnie, who was a late substitute in Lima, Celtic’s Ryan Christie and Johnny Russell, who has joined the squad from Sporting Kansas City, while others who came off the bench may be promoted to the starting line-up.