How Hearts players fared on international duty as nine Jambos represent their countries

Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark and captain Lawrence Shankland both played for Scotland this week. Pic: SNSHearts goalkeeper Zander Clark and captain Lawrence Shankland both played for Scotland this week. Pic: SNS
Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark and captain Lawrence Shankland both played for Scotland this week. Pic: SNS | SNS Group
Tynecastle men jetted off to some far-flung destinations over the past week

Nine Hearts players have been on international duty over the past week with varying degrees of fortune. Coaching staff will be praying they all report back to Riccarton unscathed over the coming weeks ahead of Saturday's Premiership fixture with St Johnstone in Gorgie.

Goalkeeper Zander Clark played every minute of Scotland's final two European Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Norway. The 2-2 draw in Tbilisi was followed by a 3-3 scoreline at Hampden Park on Sunday against the Norwegians.

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Clark made his competitive international debut last Thursday in Georgia after Scotland coach Steve Clarke selected him ahead of Motherwell's Liam Kelly. Angus Gunn and Craig Gordon were both absent after injury. Clark will have benefitted from the experience gained and made some important saves against Georgia, although he will be disappointed conceding a late equaliser to Norway on Sunday evening.

Shankland was Scotland's hero in Tbilisi after coming on as an 87th-minute substitute. He headed home Stuart Armstrong's cross in stoppage-time to earn a 2-2 draw. He also came on for the dying moments against Norway as he staked a claim for a place in the Euro 2024 squad.

Younger Tynecastle players Lewis Neilson and Aidan Denholm featured in Scotland Under-21s' impressive 2-0 win away to Belgium in their European qualifier. Defender Neilson - currently on loan from Hearts to Partick Thistle - played 90 minutes and midfielder Denholm came on as a substitute for Matthew Anderson after 20 minutes. On-loan Alex Lowry was an unused sub.

Another left on the bench was central defender Kye Rowles, who watched Australia thump Bangladesh 7-0 in Melbourne last Thursday to begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in style. Rowles will be hoping for some involvement in their second match of this international fortnight on Tuesday against Palestine in Kuwait.

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Kenneth Vargas managed some senior involvement with Costa Rica, playing the final 15 minutes as a substitute against Panama in the CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final. However, a 3-0 defeat at home will have left the forward less than happy. Costa Rica will aim for some level of redemption in the return leg in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Hearts midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof played 63 minutes of Australia Under-23s 2-1 friendly victory away to Qatar on Friday. He will hope for more game time in Tuesday's friendly with Saudi Arabia.

Finally, Japanese forward Yutaro Oda was on duty with his country's under-22 squad. He played in their 5-2 friendly win over Argentina on Saturday and is preparing to face the same opponents in another friendly on Tuesday.

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