AFTER a nervous wait, Kirriemuir teenager Scott McKenna got the news every Scottish schoolboy dreams of when he was selected as part of their Lloyds TSB Under-18 squad for the 2013 Centenary Shield.
The Aberdeen defender heard the news at the final trials, which took place at Toryglen Recreation Football Centre, and whittled the 34-strong contingent down to a final 18.
Opening their campaign away to Northern Ireland on February 22 the Scots face a trip to Wales before entertaining the Republic of Ireland and finally locking horns with holders England on April 12.
But even though there are still two months before the Webster’s High School pupil gets to don the famous blue jersey, McKenna is just relieved his talents were recognised after injury cut short his chance to shine.
“I was a bit surprised to be selected because I came off injured in the trial and I wasn’t really able to play much and I didn’t really get a chance to show what I was capable of,” said the 16-year-old.
“I knocked my head in a challenge and felt a bit concussed so I couldn’t really stay on. I played better in the first game and obviously they have seen what I can do from that so it’s nice to see they have had faith in me and my ability.
“I came along at the first trial and they put me at left-back and it will give me a better chance to get forward and get some goals.
“It’s the first time I will represent Scotland and I expecting the games to be a lot more physical because the other nations have a lot more people to choose from and are sometimes bigger and stronger.
“I am looking forward to all the fixtures and I hope to do well for my country.”
Head coach Stewart Taylor, who has been involved with Scottish youth set-up since 1991, admits his latest troops have a great chance of repeating 2011’s successful campaign.
But he believes the likes of McKenna and co. will benefit from their taste of international football whether they lift the shield or not.
“It’s a huge, and a very necessary, facility that we offer with international schoolboy football,” said Taylor.
“Some of these lads have probably had the opportunity to turn professional but they have already declined opportunity and stayed on at school, and we feel it’s only right that they get the chance to sample international football of a high standard.
“I think it contributes vastly to their overall development, both as footballers and as young men as well, and the feedback we get from the boys historically has always been great.”
“They are all very aware what a role their time in the Scottish Schools’ squad has done for them. We have certainly helped a couple of boys along the way and we hope to do the same for this bunch.”
Lloyds TSB Scotland, proud partner for the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland U18 schoolboys squad for their 2013 Centenary Shield campaign. For all the latest squad news, visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa