Zander Clark has got the taste for more Scotland caps after making his competitive debut in the 2-2 draw in Georgia.
With Angus Gunn injured, the Hearts goalkeeper got the nod for his first Scotland start ahead of Motherwell’s Liam Kelly.
Clark bounced back from the loss of an early goal to make several assured stops including one in the dying seconds following Tynecastle team-mate Lawrence Shankland’s stoppage-time equaliser.
The recognition has been a long time coming for the former St Johnstone player, who was tipped for a call-up long before he first broke into Steve Clarke’s squad in August 2021.
“I am immensely proud,” the 31-year-old said. “I was proud when I got the 45 minutes in France but to get the first competitive one means an awful lot.
“Representing your country is something you dream of as a kid and thankfully I have been able to do it.
“Hopefully I have done enough and I can try and get many more but I know it’s going to be a tough ask. But I am just delighted to eventually get to taste it and it’s something I want more of.
“On a personal level, delighted, as a collective there is obviously a bit of disappointment not to take three points from the game. But we said after it, when you can’t win the game, you just need to make sure you don’t lose it.”
Clark admitted he had to focus on the game rather than his own excitement after hearing he was in the team ahead of Kelly and Robby McCrorie.
“It was just in the pre-match meeting, the manager named the team,” he said.
“The three of us have worked this week in the build-up to it, so it was going to be a tough decision, I was just thankful I managed to get the nod.
“I was obviously delighted but you just need to put it to the back of your mind and concentrate on the game, which I thought I did.
“It’s a proud moment to see your name in the starting line-up but you quickly forget about that and it’s mind on the business.”
Clark showed strong hands to parry several efforts as Georgia displayed how they qualified for the Euro 2024 play-offs with an unbeaten Nations League record.
“As a goalkeeper you want to make saves that can help the team get a result,” he said. “I felt I had a couple of decent ones.
“Obviously you want to prevent the goals but credit to the boys, they made it stuffy for us, pegged us back twice and came back and got the draw in the end.”
The manager gave little away on his plans for the position earlier this week after allowing Clark and Kelly to share duties in France last month.
And the Hearts player is keen to continue in goal for Sunday’s final Group A game against Norway as the Tartan Army finally get the chance to celebrate qualification en masse.
“It will be a great game,” he said. More positive going into it on the back of not losing. Back in front of the crowd at Hampden will be joyous, I would imagine.
“We know it will be a tough game but if we play the way the manager and coaching staff want us to play, we have a right good chance of picking up three points.”