Kieran Freeman admits his late Scotland Under-21 call-up was an unexpected bonus at the end of an already memorable campaign.
Despite turning 22 in March, the Dundee United wing-back had never previously represented his country at under-21 level after injuries derailed his progress through the age groups.
However, he was drafted in to Scot Gemill’s squad at short notice after West Ham’s Harrison Ashby withdrew last week and made his debut in an impressive goalless draw away to Belgium on Sunday.
After completing his first season as a regular in the United first team, he now hopes to win a second and final cap at under-21 level as Scotland conclude a testing European Championship campaign away to Denmark on Friday.
“I just thought the season was finished to be honest and I was happy with playing 30 games and the team (United) finishing fourth, so just to get that extra appearance and be involved has been good,” Freeman told the Scottish Football Association website.
“I missed a few days of a holiday with my mum and dad but I’d already had two weeks in Portugal! If you get the chance to play for Scotland then you’re going to miss anything.
“Obviously it was a good moment (to play against Belgium). I’ve been involved with Scotland since I was young and that was my first appearance since my knee injuries which I’d been out with for a few years, so obviously it was great to come back especially against a team like Belgium.
“My dad and were mum watching on BBC so they were definitely happy to see me playing.”
Belgium have won the five-team group but Freeman believes fourth-place Scotland can take heart from the way they played as they look to finish the campaign on a high away to Denmark, who have finished second and secured a play-off.
“That wasn’t Belgium’s strongest under-21 side but they still had million-pound players – and quite a few millions, some of them!” he said.
“It’s always good to test yourself against that sort of talent and we managed to get a clean sheet, which is always a pleasing thing as a defender. I thought we were the better team in the first half but we just couldn’t really finish our chances.
“It obviously gives us confidence. There’s no pressure on either team and it’s up to us to go and get a result (against Denmark).
“This will be the last game for a little while (until pre-season) so this will be the game you think about for the next three or four weeks so you want it to be a good one and keep the confidence going.”