Hibs boss Neil Lennon has told Ryan Porteous that club comes before country after the teenage defender was called up for Scotland matches which clash with an important Premiership game for the club.
Porteous has been picked, along with team-mate Fraser Murray, for Scotland Under-19 friendlies against Denmark and Austria at the end of the month.
Those fixtures, to be played in Spain, are part of the young Scots’ preparations for the final qualification hurdle of their European Championship campaign. Porteous is a key member of Donald Park’s squad and was the team’s captain as they reached the Elite Round of the competition.
The youngsters fly out on Sunday, February 25 – the day after Hibs play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park – with the first of their games taking place at the Top Ten Sports Centre in Lloret De Mar on Tuesday, February 27, with the second scheduled for two days later.
However, Hibs face Hamilton at Easter Road on the Wednesday of that week and with his side chasing a place in next season’s Europa League, Lennon is determined that 18-year-old Porteous will remain in Edinburgh as a member of the first-team squad.
Lennon said: “There is no club versus country dilemma, trust me. He is part of my first-team squad and we have games then. I would doubt very much I would be willing to let him go at that stage of the season, regardless if they were friendly matches or competitive.
“It’s something I haven’t really touched on, but Ryan is a first-team player and if we have important games coming up then I will need him here.”