MALKY Mackay believes the way Ryan Jack handled being booed by Scotland supporters on his international debut shows the Rangers midfielder can play at right back for his country in future.

Jack, who moved from Aberdeen to their fierce rivals on a free transfer in the summer, was abused by some of his own team’s fans on his return to Pittodrie on Thursday evening.

But he performed well against a Netherlands team that contained Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, Kevin Strootman, Virgil van Dijk and Georgino Wijnaldum.

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The 25-year-old has endured a difficult season with Rangers having been red carded three times – two of which were subsequently rescinded.

His inclusion in the national squad was criticised by Kirs Boyd, the former Rangers and Scotland striker, who claimed he had been shown more red cards than he had enjoyed good games.

McKay, the SFA Performance Director who was put in temporary charge of the Scotland team following the departure of Gordn Strachan last month, was delighted with how Jack performed in difficult circumstances.

He feels the player, who started his career at right back, can feature in what has been something of a problem position for the national team in recent years for Strachan’s successor in future.

“I thought he was terrific,” he said. “I thought he was calm. There was a lot of debate about him concerning his sendings off, how Rangers have played, how he has played, the fact I was playing him at right back and also the fact he was coming back to Aberdeen.

“There were an awful lot of things for a boy to actually think about when he was picked. There was an awful lot of criticism attached to him being picked from various quarters.

“But, again, I knew what I was going to get. He was as good a right back as we have had at under-21 level for years. I have got a couple of coaches and one of them in particular, Campbell Money, was pushing massively for him to play there.

“So I watched as many videos as I could of Ryan Jack at right back. I also watched him recently to see where he is as a player at the moment. I knew that there was a boy who would die to come and play.

“I told him he was going to play at right back and he said ‘I will play anywhere you want as long as I have got a Scotland strip on’. That is a good start.”

Mackay added: “The technique that he has got showed on Thursday night. He is so comfortable on the ball at right back. We had comfortable players on the ball all over the pitch and we needed that.

“If we were going to play the way we played the other night we needed players who were comfortable on the ball. Ryan is comfortable on the ball. But he is also tenacious.

“That was Memphis Depay he was playing against the other night. He was playing against top player and he was playing out of position. Did anybody get the better of him the other night? No. Did he go and join in? Yeah. Can he handle the ball terrifically well? Yes.

“I was so happy for him. Whether somebody else puts him there going forward is another matter, but we have had a problem at right back.

“Kieran Tierney going there is not the answer. He doesn’t want to be playing there, trust me. Callum Paterson has been out for a year. He is 10 minutes back from a torn cruciate. But maybe there is competition at right back now.”

Jack got his chance along with the likes of Ryan Christie, Jason Cummings, John McGinn, Kenny McLean and Callum McGregor due to the fact Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher were injured and Ikechi Anya, Chris Martin, James McArthur, James Morrison and Robert Snodgrass were rested.

Yet, Mackay believes the players who took part in the game against the Dutch are now in possession of the Scotland jerseys ahead of the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and will have to be displaced by their compatriots.

“We have the older guard that we know about and that the next manager might bring back in,” he said. “But that there on Thursday night is what is the future.

“When you see them playing to that standard, see their quality on the ball, see their athleticism, that is what we have got to field. Those are the ones I think have to keep playing.”