Malky Mackay has urged Ross Laidlaw to keep at the top of his game after the Ross County goalkeeper was overlooked for the Scotland squad.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke earlier this week named his pool for next week’s European qualifying double header against Georgia and Norway.
The Scots have already qualified for next summer’s finals in Germany.
First choice goalkeeper Angus Gunn is sidelined due to a leg injury, with regular deputies Zander Clark and Liam Kelly once again selected.
Gunn’s absence left a void which was filled by Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie – who has not played a single minute of competitive action this season.
Laidlaw has been a consistent performer for the Staggies in the Premiership in recent seasons. He has faced more shots (68) than any other top-flight goalkeeper, with a save percentage of 74% which ranks him fourth – and the best-placed Scot – in the league. (Source – StatsBomb).
The 31-year-old produced a man of the match display despite last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Celtic, with the Staggies goalkeeper making a number of impressive saves to keep the scoreline down.
Mackay, who previously served as Scotland interim boss, understands the selection dilemmas faced by Clarke, but he insists Laidlaw can only strengthen his case by maintaining his fine form for the Dingwall side.
Mackay said: “I’ve obviously worked at the Scottish FA, and I know Steve Clarke well.
“I also know what it’s like when people try to talk to you about who you should have in the squad. I have had that myself obviously.
“I’m not in any shape or form going to tell Steve Clarke who to pick.
“He has done a fabulous job, and it’s a group that are breaking records right now.
“On Ross, I’ve talked to him over the last year about putting his stamp and personality on the game.
“If he keeps doing that, he’s Scottish, 6ft 5in and he’s played hundreds of games in the Premiership.
“I’ve seen him constantly improve in his shot stopping, in coming for crosses, and the way he’s playing makes him an established Premiership player.
“If he keeps doing that, then he’s giving options to someone, and that’s what he needs to keep doing.
“If he keeps doing what he has over the last 18 months, he certainly will be that.”
County play their final fixture before the international break when they make the trip to St Johnstone, who are fresh from appointing Craig Levein as their new manager.
The Staggies have not won since a 1-0 triumph at Kilmarnock on September 2, however their only defeat from their last four games came to champions Celtic last weekend.
Mackay is hoping to build up the points tally in the weeks ahead, adding: “You can always say that if this happened or that happened, we could have won, but take the Motherwell game for example – if we defend properly in any of the last five minutes, that’s three points.
“The other one is Livingston at home, where we were really decent and should have been out of sight.
“If we had those extra four points, we’re having a slightly different conversation, so that’s what we’ll be trying to improve on in the next round of games.”