Hibs ace talks Scotland Euro 2024 call-up chances - and putting his honeymoon on ice

Cadden in action for Scotland against Mexico back in 2016Cadden in action for Scotland against Mexico back in 2016
Cadden in action for Scotland against Mexico back in 2016
Hickey injury set-back sees fullback move up Steve Clarke’s list

Flying under the radar may not be option much longer. And that summer honeymoon already booked and paid for? Yeah, about that …

Chris Cadden may be naturally inclined to play down his chances of a belated Scotland call-up for this summer’s Euro 2024 Finals. His international experience to date, after all, has been restricted to appearances against Mexico and Peru in a slightly madcap summer tour six years ago.

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With Brentford boss Thomas Frank rating Aaron Hickey’s chances of being fit for the tournament as “not positive,” however, Steve Clarke – already without Everton’s Nathan Patterson – is running out of options at right back. Cadden, not long back from a long-term absence following Achilles’ tendon surgery, seems like an obvious fit to many.

The former Motherwell player, who admits to finding talk of an international recall “embarrassing,” would clearly love nothing better than to be involved in a campaign that, while not officially kicking off until the tournament opener against hosts Germany on June 14, begins properly with friendlies against Gibraltar (June 3) and Finland (June 7). A slight problem for a guy getting married on May 31.

“I’m a massive Scotland fan and always have been,” said Cadden, when asked about his chances, the athletic and ambitious 27-year-old adding: “What the team have done has been incredible. 

“I try to do everything I can at club level and then see what happens from there, that’s all you can do. There’s no regret or anything that I haven’t been involved again. 

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“I’m a huge fan of the national team so the fact I was able to pull on that shirt was a proud moment. I don’t want to look too far ahead and whatever happens happens. I will be doing my best for Hibs over the next three games and won’t have any regrets. 

“It’s flattering but I get a bit embarrassed as well because I don’t like too many compliments. I like to keep under the radar and perform for Hibs. But of course it’s nice because if people are saying that it shows you must be doing something right. 

“I’m getting married on May 31 and then I think we’re on holiday! To be honest, I’m looking forward to seeing Scotland in a major tournament. 

“Growing up my dad used to tell me about his generation and seeing the Scotland team playing. He’s said he’s actually felt sorry for me because I haven’t seen Scotland play in a major championships. 

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“Being able to do that with the last Euros was great but this one feels a bit bigger because it’s not Covid any more. Plus Scotland having the opening game, it’ll be unbelievable and it’s something a lot of the fans will want to have checked off. Like everyone, I’m looking forward to it.” 

Recalling his one senior international adventure, Cadden remembered being in some decent company, current team-mate Lewis Stevenson included, on a trip that included taking on Mexico in the famous Azteca Stadium, saying: “It was great being away with those players. Scott McTominay was just coming through at that time, Kenny McLean was there, Charlie Mulgrew - some top players. 

“I was just a young boy at Motherwell at that time so getting the chance to go away from them, learn from them and test myself at that level was brilliant. Peru and Mexico were good teams, a different level to what I’d played against before.

“They were going to the World Cup, so it was party time for them, and their fans were amazing. The atmosphere was great. I loved every minute of it and tried to cherish it. It’s something I look back on with fond memories.”

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Like all at Hibs, Cadden is eager to show his appreciation for club captain Paul Hanlon and veteran fullback Stevenson, whose departure was announced earlier this week. Acknowledging that they’re two of the humblest characters in football, players who hate any fuss, he’s insistent that they deserve a huge send-off when it comes.

“I think it will be more emotional when we’re right at the end of the season and it’s the last time they’ll play for Hibs,” he said. “We have the Player of the Year awards that night too. I’ll be crying probably; I don’t know about them! 

“They won’t want to be the centre of attention. They prefer to keep out of the limelight. They are more about keeping the head down and working hard - that’s why they have done so well in their careers. 

“They’re both humble and don’t want a big fuss made of them. I think there should be a massive fuss, but they’d prefer not to have that and just spend time with their families. 

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“I have had a few bollockings from Paul a few times, he’ll let you know if there’s something he’s got to say. I’ve not had it so much with Lewis because he’s the other side of the pitch, but the pair of them have been huge on standards here. 

“That’s every single day, not just in games, how they conduct themselves about the place day-in-day-out. They are leaders and have been brilliant, I can’t underestimate how big they have been for me.”

Cadden was one of the players name-checked by manager Nick Montgomery in relation to the prospect of new leaders emerging to fill the space left by Hanlon and Stevenson, the fullback admitting: “It’s going to be tough but there are good people in the dressing-room, the likes of Joe Newell, Jordan Obita and others. Obviously, I am one of the senior ones now too, so we all have to play our part in it. There are a lot of good characters in the building and while Paul and Lewis will be a big loss because they’re such important figures here, there are others capable of stepping up and taking on that role.”