RYAN Gauld has revealed that one of the joys of moving to Portugal has been a dampening of the hype around him and the demise of his "Mini Messi" nickname.

Gauld became a small sensation, in more ways than one, a year ago as the little midfielder delivered some mesmerising performances for Dundee United. That resulted in him being endlessly praised and even compared to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. Excitement about Gauld continued within Scottish football when he moved to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon in the summer in a deal worth £3m and with a £47m buy-out clause. He has also been given his first Scotland call-up for the Euro 2016 double-header against Georgia on Saturday and Poland next Tuesday.

There has been much less fanfare about Gauld in Lisbon, inevitably, and the 18-year-old yesterday admitted that had come as a relief. "I've managed to escape from the 'Mini Messi' tag, which I'm quite glad of," said the forward, who has represented his country at both under-19 and under-21 level since making his first-team debut for United.

"It was a little bit strange and came about just because I'm small and left-footed. That's the comparison and again it was made only after about four or five games for United.

"I'm really glad that I'm away from the hype which surrounded me. I'd only played just a few games for United when there were rumours and stories about other clubs being interested. It didn't really affect me but it was beyond belief it was happening after just a couple of games.

"I don't have a nickname at Sporting yet. No-one in the Scotland squad has said anything about it yet, which I'm quite glad about. I thought something might have been said. There's been no initiation ceremony either. I've not had to sing a song for anything like that, which I wouldn't look forward to!"

Although the odds are against Gauld coming straight into the Scotland team this weekend - he has been playing for Sporting's B side rather than the first team - assistant manager Mark McGhee has said the teenager could play his way into the Georgia match if he impresses in training this week. Gauld has acknowledged that much too and cited the case of his former United team-mate Andy Robertson, who made a positive impression on the Scotland coaches following his first call up in March.

"That's proof that if you work hard in training the manager is not afraid to throw people in," said Gauld. "He showed that with Andy Robertson. It came as a huge shock to be named in the squad. At the start of the season I was too old for the under-19s so I was only looking at the under-21 games. This is a huge surprise.

"If I'm picked I'll be ready. We've prepared the whole week for this. I've dreamed about a Scotland call-up for a long time. At the end of the day you don't know when a chance like this will come for you again so you have to make the most of it."

Gauld has seen less of his family since moving to Lisbon in the summer, of course, so returning on international duty will allow them to catch-up. "My family and girlfriend are coming to Ibrox which is great. It will be nice to see them again..

"My previous appearance at Ibrox was the Scottish Cup semi-final last season which was a great day for everyone at Dundee United [they beat Rangers to reach the final]. If we could replicate that on Saturday everyone would be buzzing."