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John Colquhoun delighted to see Hearts well represented in latest Scotland squad

Ian Cathro Press Conference – Tynecastle
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Former Hearts player John Colquhoun is delighted to see his old club well represented within a Scotland squad made up of players predominantly from Rangers and Celtic and the top two divisions in England.

The Tynecastle club’s fine form this season is reflected in the fact Craig Gordon and Craig Halkett are in the mix for Thursday’s friendly with Poland, while John Souttar scored in the last match and would have been involved this time if not for a minor injury.

Barrie McKay and Stephen Kingsley have also been among the standout players in the cinch Premiership this term and have been touted for future inclusion in Steve Clarke’s plans.

Former winger Colquhoun was capped twice in 1988 while his Hearts team-mates Henry Smith, Craig Levein, Dave McPherson, Gary Mackay and John Robertson were all involved with Scotland at a time when they regularly qualified for major tournaments.

The 58-year-old believes it is a good sign that Hearts once again have an array of players equipped to make their presence felt in a strong national team set-up.

“It shows the progress the club’s making,” Colquhoun told the PA news agency.

“It’s not like Scotland are struggling for players or for form. This is a Scotland team that’s had some terrific results and is looking to qualify for a World Cup and has lots of good players playing in the Premier League down south.

“It’s not the easiest squad to get into but the Hearts players who are in the mix just now all deserve it. Unless you’re a Hearts supporter, Craig Halkett will have flown under the radar for most people. But having watched him on a regular basis, I absolutely believe he deserves a chance.

“Craig Gordon is the best goalkeeper we have, no question about that. And John Souttar is absolutely suited to international football. Probably out of all the out-and-out centre-backs Scotland have, he’s the one most suited to playing international football.

“It’s good times for Hearts supporters watching so many people who really are pushing for the international team. In some ways you become a victim of your own success and people start to notice your players, as has happened already with John Souttar (agreeing a pre-contract with Rangers). Hopefully there will be two or three more who will be getting into the squad soon.”

Colquhoun is excited by the progress of another player with strong Hearts links after Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey, who was bought from the Tynecastle club in the summer of 2020 for a fee in the region of £1.5million, was given his first call-up for the Poland game. The 19-year-old could make his debut at left-wing-back, with captain Andy Robertson missing due to Covid.

“Aaron Hickey’s numbers out in Bologna are just off the scale,” said Colquhoun, who has paid close attention to his rise since watching him make his debut as a 16-year-old at Hearts.

“I think a lot of people at Bologna will look back on that as being the bargain of the season when he joined.

“It was amazing for him to have the courage to go out there to learn his trade at Bologna, not one of the most glamorous clubs in Serie A, in a country where you have to be able to defend to be a defender. I know he plays further forward at times but the schooling he will have had at defending will stand him and Scotland in good stead for many, many years.

“He’s adaptable and versatile enough that you don’t have to crowbar him into a position. There will be a natural position for Aaron Hickey in a Scotland side whatever system and whatever personnel are available because he can play three or four positions comfortably and he’s learning his trade in a fantastic league.”

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