Hearts' Jon McLaughlin hopes Scotland debut helps him find a new club

Jon McLaughlin made his Scotland debut against Mexico
Jon McLaughlin made his Scotland debut against Mexico
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Jon McLaughlin hopes his Scotland debut attracts a number of interested clubs as he prepares to leave Hearts.

Admitting he wants his phone to ring, the goalkeeper provided the strongest indication yet that his future lies away from Tynecastle after his international bow in Mexico.

National coach Alex McLeish gave McLaughlin his first cap in Sunday's 1-0 friendly defeat in the Azteca Stadium. His Hearts contract expired just three days earlier on May 31 and he is now a free agent looking for a new club.

A deal remains on the table for him to extend his one-year stay in Edinburgh but McLaughlin is certain to move on. The Hearts manager Craig Levein last week signed Czech keeper Zdenek Zlamal as his replacement, and McLaughlin admitted he is now waiting to see which teams contact him.

"At the moment I am an unemployed Scotland player so that might be a first as well, I don't know," said McLaughlin. "My contract was up on the 31st of May so I was unattached.

"I certainly still like to think I was a Hearts player and I was representing them as well. They have done so much for me this season and I owe them a massive amount.

"The gaffer Craig Levein, goalkeeper coach Gal (Paul Gallacher), everyone has been fantastic for me. I still felt as though I was representing them as well but technically I am an unemployed footballer.

"Hopefully the phone will be ringing when I get home. It is all up in the air, we have to wait and see. Hopefully we can use this as a good advertisement for what I can do for clubs out there and, fingers crossed, something good comes out of it."

McLaughlin revealed his Scotland debut was a different level compared to his relatively modest career so far. He played the first half in the Azteca in front of more than 70,000 people before being replaced by Scott Bain.

"For someone who has not been blooded through the Premier League or the higher echelons of football, to be standing there singing the national anthem and looking at the surroundings, the sheer size of a packed house, it was very surreal," he said.

"To play for your country is a huge achievement and I am very proud for me and my family. To get that first cap at the age of 30 in surroundings like that was an amazing feeling. Hopefully it gives a little bit of hope to some of the other guys out there.

"It has been a great year, going to Scotland and finally get to play there, where I was born. I have had a brilliant time and getting a chance to play for the national team was an incredible feeling.

"It has been a long road up to this point. But it just shows you that if you keep plugging away and keep doing the business at your clubs you never know what happens and thankfully the gaffer saw enough to have that faith in me."

The challenge now is to avoid being known purely as a one-cap wonder. "Hopefully it is only maybe the halfway point in my career and this can keep that love for the game going," said McLaughlin.

"That is what you dream of, playing in front of crowds like that, in situations like that. It has given me a massive boost."