Neilson hopes young Jambos shine for Scotland

Callum Paterson is one of five Hearts players in the Scotland Under-21 squad in action tonight in Paisley

Callum Paterson is one of five Hearts players in the Scotland Under-21 squad in action tonight in Paisley

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ROBBIE NEILSON will attend Scotland Under-21s’ European qualifier against Ukraine tonight hoping to see Hearts players force their way into the senior squad.

Five Tynecastle youngsters are with the Under-21s and their head coach wants them to earn promotion by impressing national coach Gordon Strachan.

Under-21 coach Ricky Sbragia has been assisted by Strachan in training ahead of the 2017 European Championship qualifier in Paisley. Hearts have goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, defenders Callum Paterson and Jordan McGhee, plus wingers Sam Nicholson and Billy King in the squad and Neilson will travel west tonight to watch them in action.

Neilson believes all five have the potential to push for a place in the full squad next year as Strachan seeks new recruits following the failed Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. “We’ve got five boys involved so I’ll be there watching. I’m hoping they all do well and stay clear of injury,” said Neilson.

“It’s great for Hearts and it’s great for the players to be playing in these games and representing their country. We hope to try and get some of them into the full squad in the next year. Gordon is with the Under-21s this time and it will be great for him seeing them in training as well as Ricky Sbragia. Hopefully they can impress and push for a call-up to the senior squad.

“They are doing well for Hearts, they just need to do well consistently and be at that level week in and week out. There are a lot of good players in the Scotland squad so anyone who wants in there has to really push hard. It’s up to Gordon, of course, I can’t tell him what to do. We have boys who I think are good players and it’s up to them to prove with the Under-21s that they’re ready for that step up to the full squad.”