Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton ‘honoured’ to receive Scotland call

Jack Hamilton is expected to start against Italy in Malta

Jack Hamilton is expected to start against Italy in Malta

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JACK HAMILTON has spoken for the first time about the “honour” of being called up by Scotland – and admitted he couldn’t care less about having to cancel holiday plans.

The Hearts goalkeeper was due to fly to Florida next week but had to forego that break after receiving his first international call-up.

He jets off with Gordon Strachan’s squad tomorrow and is hoping for a senior Scotland debut in friendlies against Italy in Malta and France in Metz. Although just 22 and second-choice keeper at Tynecastle, Hamilton has impressed national coaching staff with his performances for Scotland Under-21s in recent months.

His promotion came as a surprise, though. He is now enjoying the experience of training alongside the more experienced David Marshall of Cardiff City and the Ross County keeper Scott Fox. Scotland goalkeeping coach Jim Stewart has also been helping Hamilton during training sessions this week at the team headquarters in Renfrewshire.

Hamilton explained his euphoria when the call came to tell him he was being pulled into Strachan’s squad. His holiday plans weren’t given a second thought. “I got the phonecall and that was it. I wasn’t even thinking about holiday time. To come away [with Scotland] is a great honour and I’d happily sacrifice a holiday for that,” he said in a Scottish FA interview.

He also revealed what it would mean to take to the field in Malta on Sunday and face one of his all-time goalkeeper heroes, Gianluigi Buffon. “It wouldn’t feel real, to be honest with you. He’s somebody any goalkeeper looks up to. He’s done everything, he’s won a World Cup. To be on the same park as him, even on the same teamsheet as him, would be great for me.”

Marshall is expected to start in goal for the Scots, leaving Fox and Hamilton to fight for the chance to come on as a substitute later in the two matches. Fox, 28, has previous experience of the Scotland squad having first been called up in November 2013. However, he has yet to win a full cap for his country.

Hamilton is similarly looking to make a breakthrough and is grateful to be able to learn from more experienced colleagues. “It’s been brilliant to work with them,” he added. “Jim has been brilliant with me as well. He’s the top man in the goalkeeping world, so he’s been really good. With regards to David Marshall and Scott Fox, they’re two very experienced goalies.

“Scott has played loads of games in the Premiership and he’s done really well. He’s somebody I watch and try to learn from. David has been excellent. I can remember watching his debut for Celtic against Barcelona and looking up to him. To come in and actually train with them is an honour for me.”