Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged Scott McKenna to make the most of his second chance to represent his country at the European Championships.
The Dons defender was facing the prospect of missing out on this summer’s finals when he suffered a serious hamstring tear in his side’s Scottish Cup quarter-final win at St Mirren on February 29.
The injury would have ruled McKenna out of the Nations League semi-final against Israel, and the final against Serbia or Norway if Scotland won their tie at Hampden in March, and the defender would still have been facing a race against time to make this summer’s championship finals had Steve Clarke’s side qualified.
But with the finals having been rescheduled for the summer of 2021 by Uefa due to the coronavirus Dons boss McInnes believes McKenna has been given a new goal to aim for.
He said: “The good thing for Scott is that he hasn’t missed out in as many games as maybe he thought he was going to.
“He might have missed out on the European Championships, if Scotland had qualified, and he still has that to work towards when he gets back.”
McKenna has been working on his own in his efforts to rehabilitate his injury and McInnes is still unsure when the defender will be back at full fitness.
He said: “It is difficult to say for sure when we can’t get hands and eyes on him.
“I have spoken to (head of medical and sports science) Adam Stokes and he was saying to me that he has been delighted with the rehab and his view is that it couldn’t have gone any better.
“The fact that there has been no games has also been good and I think Scott will benefit from this break in the long-run.
“We are pretty pleased, depending when we get back that Scott will be there or thereabouts.”
Left-back Greg Leigh, who was recovering from a fractured tibia before the coronavirus pandemic forced football into lockdown, is back to full fitness while Scott Wright, who has missed most of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury, is also nearing a return.
The Dons boss hopes both can feature if the remaining games of the season are played.
He said: “Greg is fine now. He just needs the last of his rehab, like Scott Wright, which is to get back training full out and to get games.
“Scott was just getting to that stage where he was getting right back into competitive training and the plan was to get him a game during the international break.
“There isn’t really fit until you are back and playing games.
“(For Greg) in terms of the bone healing that is fine and it is just a case of working on his fitness.
“It was a shame that they have done all the work to be in a situation where they are able to play again and they can’t.”