Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee believes former Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Fraser can force his way into the senior squad by continuing to impress for the under-21s.
Fraser was given his Dons debut during McGhee’s spell in charge at Pittodrie, and has since gone on to thrive for Bournemouth since joining the now English Championship side in 2013.
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has established a theme of including youngsters such as Callum McGregor and Ryan Gauld in his squad selections.
Ahead of Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland, Rangers midfielder Lewis Macleod and Hearts full back Callum Paterson – who has replaced the injured Phil Bardsley – are the latest to be given their chance.
McGhee said: “There are a number of players who, as we go along, we would bring in and get to know and have a look at. There are some of the young lads who are in the under-21s at the moment, such as Ryan Fraser, and others who we are watching and keeping tabs on. It’s a good process.
“I think it’s brilliant, it gives players the opportunity now, but it also gives them the chance to get to know us a little bit. Then when the day comes when they are called in they’re better prepared for it.”
McGhee believes youngsters can be inspired by the example of Sheffield Wednesday forward Stevie May, who was selected for the first time for last month’s double-header against Georgia and Poland.
McGhee added: “Stevie came in to train with us so we could have a look at him, and he’s still here. He trained brilliantly. We all took a step back, we didn’t quite expect him to be as good as he was at this stage. But there’s no hesitation, if he’s good enough we’ll have him, and the manager has proven that is true by bringing him back again.
“Stevie May came in and trained alongside Chris Martin who’s doing brilliantly at the top end of the Championship, and Steven Fletcher who’s playing in the Premier League.”
On top of Bardsley’s withdrawal, Derby County midfielder Craig Bryson has also been ruled out of Friday’s match at Parkhead through injury.
Bryson has been replaced by club team-mate Johnny Russell, and McGhee believes the former Dundee United attacker brings fresh attributes to the squad.
McGhee said: “Johnny Russell is a positive player, playing with a lot of confidence and scoring goals. He’s a player that gets his team up the park, he’ll run the ball up there. He adds things that are slightly different from others.”