Gary Mackay-Steven says shouldering the responsibility of creating and scoring goals for Aberdeen is bringing out the best in him as he looks to reproduce his sparkling form in the dark blue of Scotland.
The winger took his goals tally for the season to six as he claimed the Dons winner against Hibs, pouncing on a mistake by Ryan Porteous to then rifle a low shot past goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, filling him full of confidence for the UEFA Nations League double-header with Albania and Israel.
He said: “I’m feeling good, scoring goals. So it’s obviously a great opportunity for me coming here. I’m really happy to be part of the squad. There’s always pressure, but it’s how you deal with it.
“I feel great at Aberdeen, I’m comfortable and just enjoying my football. Playing every week is key, you build confidence and get into a rhythm.
“I try things, tricks and stuff like that. It doesn’t always come off. But ultimately you want to be trying things, to create situations. I’m looking to impress for Scotland this week. There are really good players here, but you’ve got to have faith in your own ability.”
The Tartan Army may be a bit short in numbers in Shkoder on Saturday but Mackay-Steven anticipates a healthy backing from his hometown of Thurso when Israel arrive at Hampden on Tuesday night.
He said: “I’ve still got family there, my Dad’s still in Thurso and a lot of my friends.
“There’s a bus that goes to all the home games and quite possibly there will be a few guys going who went to the pub I once worked in.”