Scotland coach Gordon Strachan would have called Callum Paterson into his squad last week had the Hearts defender not suffered a shoulder injury.
Scotland Under-21 coach Ricky Sbragia confirmed today that Paterson was to be named in the senior squad before injury struck last month.
The 21-year-old tore a shoulder ligament against Kilmarnock which has denied him a possible international debut. He is expected to return to action in early April. He was first called up by Strachan in November 14 and was amongst the substitutes for a friendly against England. He then returned to the Under-21s, but forthcoming friendlies against Czech Republic and Denmark would have brought his full international bow.
“I was a bit gutted for him. I was actually at the game against Kilmarnock when he got injured,” said Sbragia. “I left a bit early and didn’t realise he’d been injured. He was the one, so I was really sad for him. He’s done super, he’s been great around the place and he’s been very consistent for Hearts. This was his next step up.”
There is no prospect of Paterson joining the Scotland Under-21 squad for European Championship qualifiers against France and Northern Ireland later this month. “The thing would be the match practice and the risk,” explained Sbragia. “Maybe I should be more selfish but I have to think about the player long term, pick him up again and chat to him about it. I would never risk him. I wouldn’t bring him in and evoke any rules to bring people in.
“The thing for Callum is to get the rest. At this time of the season, a lot of players get injured. It’s been a tough season and there are a lot of games so they’re getting injuries. We have to be wary of that as well, the number of games they’ve played and what they’re carrying. I know for a fact, of the ones in the Under-21 squad, three will come carrying injuries. We have to nurse them through it.”