and JAMES PORTEOUS He has the surname, he has the heritage and he has the credentials - although he doesn't quite have the lingo. Could Spaniard Ian Mackay, of Deportivo La Coruna, be capped for Scotland?

The Scottish Football Association are aware of Mackay's eligibility and new national coach Alex McLeish even brought up his name at a press conference on Monday.

The goalkeeper came to attention in August last year, when an injury to Depor's No.1 goalkeeper saw him summoned off the bench early on in a pre-season game against AC Milan. Only a penalty from Kaka beat him as Deportivo won 3-1, thanks in part to a string of good saves from Mackay.

His handling abilities were called into question this week, however, when he almost dropped his phone in shock after The Herald told him what McLeish had said.

"I have not heard anything from Scotland about playing for them, but it would be my dream to play for them," said the 20-year-old who speaks hardly any English, having been born and raised in La Coruna, the Galician port city, by a Spanish mother and Scottish father.

Hence the name: dad John Cameron Mackay is from Inverness and works on an oil rig in the North Sea, spending one month offshore and one month in La Coruna with his Spanish family.

As well as a thirteen-year-old sister in Spain (also a goalkeeper), Mackay has four half-sisters in Aberdeen from his father's first marriage.

"My father would like me to play for Scotland, but I would love to as well. I don't know if there has been anyone from Scotland watching me, but it has been my dream since I was little.

"I remember watching the World Cup in '98, seeing players like Colin Hendry, John Collins and Gary McAllister," recalls Mackay, who is aware of the strength in depth that Scotland have in his position.

"I like the good young Scottish goalkeepers like Rangers' Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon, but my hero is Italian Gianluigi Buffon.

"My father talks a lot about Scotland - I have four sisters there and lots of aunts and uncles and other family.

"I have been to Scotland a few times, visiting Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh. I really enjoyed the experience."

Before there can be any talk of Scotland, however, Mackay will have to break into the Deportivo first team.

Having spent last season with their B team in the Tercera Division, or fourth tier, Mackay moved up a level in January, when he joined nearby Universidad de Oviedo in Segunda B on loan until the end of the season to gain experience. Standing at 5ft 10 in, he is on the small side for a goalkeeper, but remains highly-rated at the Spanish club, who are currently 13th in La Liga.

"I am on loan at Oviedo until June, but I still have three years left on my contract with Coruna. I also train with Depor's first team Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays."

To date, that victory over Milan in the Teresa Herrera Cup has been Mackay's biggest game and Deportivo still regard him as one for the future.

"I played against AC Milan but that wasn't my first game. I played before against Benfica and some other smaller teams.

"Facing Milan was an experience that many players might never have the luck to have in their careers, playing against players such as Kaka and Pirlo. But it was just one game and you have to do well in every match.

"I played well but that's in the past and now I'm concentrating on the present."

Mackay could be forgiven if his head was spinning having heard that McLeish was even aware of his existence. He wanted to know exactly what the coach had said about him ("We've not been over to have a look at him yet but we have to consider options") and the news has also caused a minor stir at Deportivo's club offices.

And a Scotland cap is not the only thing occupying Mackay's imagination: a move to his ancestral home, and one club in particular, would also greatly appeal.

"I have always liked Scottish football and my favourite team is Celtic," he said. "It would be a dream for me to play for them. I would love it.

"My father is a Celtic fan and my favourite player was Larsson. Since I was little I've loved them. The atmosphere in the stadium is amazing: all the fans singing You'll Never Walk Alone, I love it."