Ross County midfielder Harry Paton hopes the lockdown has not put paid to his hopes of earning international recognition with Canada at next summer’s Olympics.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Paton had earned a spot in the provisional Canadian under-23 squad for their Olympic qualifiers, which had been due to take place between March and April this year.
Canada are one of eight nations involved in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, which has yet to be rescheduled ahead of the postponed Tokyo Games next year.
Paton has represented his country up to under-20 level where he has one cap, and he was also part of the Canadian side which played at the CONCACAF under-17 Championship in 2015.
The 22-year-old hopes his performances for the Staggies can keep him on the radar of Canadian under-23 manager Mauro Biello.
Paton said: “I got the call-up which was exciting. It was a bit unfortunate.
“I’ve been in touch with the Olympic coach and when things get going again, hopefully I’ll get another chance to go and compete there.
“It’ll be a great experience if I get the chance. It will boost my career and help build my confidence. I’ve just got to keep playing and show I can play at that level.”
Paton made 23 appearances for the Staggies in a breakthrough season last term, having spent time on loan with Stenhousemuir in the previous campaign.
Former Fulham and Hearts youth player Paton, who signed a new deal with County earlier this summer, feels the Dingwall club have given him a strong platform to progress his career.
He added: “My personal target is to cement my place in the first team. There’s great competition. In every game I will have to prove I’m good enough.
“I’ve found it a very enjoyable league. Playing at the highest level in Scotland was a personal goal and is a big achievement for me. I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. In football, you have ups and downs. Right now, my career is progressing really well and I’m very happy.
“And I think I can push more and go to a higher level, hopefully, and kick on.”
Paton won the penalty which Ross Stewart converted to give the Staggies an opening day 1-0 triumph over Motherwell on Monday, and he is eager to build on that victory when Stuart Kettlewell’s men make the trip to Hamilton Accies today.
Paton said: “It will be a different game, away from home, but it won’t faze us too much. We’ve gone over their team on video to look at what they will do.
“They will be different from Motherwell but I think we’ve got a good handle on it.
“We can definitely kick on and give them a good game.”