Jack Hamilton still considers it slightly surreal when he sees his name in the Scotland squad.
His parents might take quite a while to accept that their son is considered one of this country’s top goalkeepers.
Mr and Mrs Hamilton believed they were being duped back in May when told by Jack, then second-choice at Hearts, that he had been called into the senior Scotland squad. The national side were due to face Italy and France in end-of-season friendlies.
The phonecall which prompted widespread shock in the Hamilton household came from the Edinburgh club’s director of football, Craig Levein. After Dundee’s Scott Bain and Hull City’s Allan McGregor withdrew from international duty, Hamilton was called in.
“Craig phoned me. I was just getting ready for summer holidays when I got the call,” explained Hamilton. “I was in the house getting ready to eat my dinner and I couldn’t quite believe it. I was star-struck a wee bit.
“My mum and dad thought I was taking the mickey. They were like: ‘Shut up.’ It was fantastic. To be involved in that squad was brilliant.”
He has retained his place since then but remains uncapped. He is part of the squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Slovakia. Concurrent with his international progress from Scotland Under-21s to the full squad, Hamilton, 22, is also now the clear first-choice keeper at Hearts.
“It’s been brilliant for me these last few months. It’s just trying to think a game at a time and not get too far ahead of myself. You’re only as good as your last game so there’s no point looking too far in front. I’ve got to try to stay in the Hearts team, that’s the main aim.”
He is now becoming familiar with those who frequent Strachan’s squad. This will be his third time with the group. “It does make it easier. It’s been good to have Callum [Paterson] there with me both times so far. I’ve been rooming with him. Having somebody you know is really good. The other goalies are all great with you and the coaching staff all make you welcome.”