Stuart Armstrong will don the blue of Scotland tomorrow night but there is a tinge of tangerine running through Alex McLeish’s squad.
The Southampton midfielder came through Dundee United’s youth ranks and played alongside John Souttar, Johnny Russell and new Scotland captain Andy Robertson during his years at Tannadice.
All four have made the step up to the Scotland senior side, with Souttar in line for his first cap in the double-header against Belgium and Albania. One missing from that group is Ryan Gauld, who has been linked with a return to Scotland recently after several loan spells away from Sporting in Portugal.
Armstrong said: “I think he (Souttar) was only 16 when he played his first few games for Dundee United. He showed a lot of composure for a young player back then and he’s become a very good player. Seeing boys from United like Jonny Russell, Andy and Soapy (Souttar) in a Scotland squad after all those years, it’s great how it’s turned out.
“Soapy and Gauldy were younger than me as well so I think the four of us were more first team at Tannadice. It was a young team. It was exciting. It was a very young team actually. There were a couple of months where we scored four or more in every single game. It was exciting for the fans and it was exciting to be a part of.
“For me, it was Stevie Campbell at Dundee United. I think Soapy and Gauldy had a different relationship with different youth managers. Andy came in as a first-team player under Jackie McNamara. I don’t think it was down to one person. It was just the opportunity for young players to go and express themselves and be free on the pitch.”
Robertson was handed the armband this week by McLeish, adding another chapter to his remarkable rise. Armstrong rooms with the Liverpool defender and insists he has not changed from his formative years at Tannadice.
Armstrong said: “He’s someone who is very well liked in the squad and it’s a very good choice. The one thing I’ve admired about Andy is that he’s always been the same player if he was playing for Dundee United as he would be if he was playing a Champions League final.”
Armstrong, who moved from Celtic to Southampton in the summer, was in need of a fresh challenge and admitted he had considered moving down south a year ago.
He added: “The time was right. The summer before, I had some thoughts about it but I had had one season with Brendan Rodgers, and I wanted another. I knew in the back of my head that, ultimately, the time would come when I wanted a fresh challenge, and if I didn’t take it, I would probably have regretted it. It was about changing for a bit of experience and trying something new.”