SIR Alex Ferguson played a key role in persuading Manchester United starlet Scott McTominay to commit his international future to Scotland, Herald Sport can today reveal.

McTominay, the 21-year-old who has played in 16 games for the Old Trafford club during the 2017/18 campaign, was born and brought up in Lancashire in England.

However, his father Frank originally hails from Helensburgh and he has delighted members of as his family as well as the Tartan Army by opting to represent this country in future.

Read more: Scott McTominay's strong family ties meant that Scotland decision wasn't a bind for the Manchester United midfielder​

Both Alex McLeish, the Scotland manager, and Gareth Southgate, his England counterpart, spoke to the 6ft 4in midfielder at the United training ground last week.

McLeish will name the gifted prospect in his squad for the friendlies against Costa Rica in Glasgow and Hungary in Budapest later this month at Hampden tomorrow.

However, McTominay’s delighted grandfather, who is also called Frank and still lives in the Dunbartonshire town, has revealed that Sir Alex, the legendary former United manager who is now a club director, had influenced the decision.

The Scot was filmed speaking to Jose Mourinho in an animated fashion and pointing directly at McTominay after a service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster at Old Trafford last month.

The exchange between the 76-year-old and his successor was widely interpreted to be the Scot encouraging the Portuguese coach to give the youngster more game time in the United first team.

The player he has since been involved in every game - against Newcastle United, Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, Huddersfield in the FA Cup and Sevilla in a Champions League last 16 tie in Spain.

McTominay Snr revealed Sir Alex had played an important part in both his grandson’s development and decision to pledge his allegiance to Scotland despite no longer being the manager.

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“Alex McLeish handled the situation quite well,” the 83-year-old said. “It’s been rumbling on now for two or three months now in the papers. But he didn’t go shouting and bawling. He just said that he would speak to Scott and he did. He conducted himself quite well.

“But Sir Alex Ferguson was keen for Scott to play for Scotland as well. He was up front about it. I know that for a fact. I can say that without fear of getting contradicted. That has been kept under wraps. He and Jose Mourinho were both quite keen on it over the last month or two.

“Sir Alex Ferguson has been very good with Scott over the years. He gave him his first contract with Manchester United when he was 16 before he retired and then made sure it was extended when he was 18. He seems to get on well with him. I have seen them talking.”

Despite being at Manchester United since he was just six, McTominay Jnr has never represented Scotland at any age-group level.

His grandfather revealed that the possibility of him playing for Scotland was first raised by SFA Performance Director Malky Mackay before the friendly international against the Netherlands at Pittodrie in November - a game the former Cardiff City and Watford manager was in temporary charge for.

“Malky Mackay spoke to Scott two or three months ago, just before the Scotland friendly against the Netherlands at Pittodrie,” he said.

“What Scott said to Malky Mackay was that he was trying hard to establish himself in Manchester United team at that time and wanted to concentrate on that. Malky Mackay accepted that.

“It was suggested at that time that he had snubbed Scotland. That was never true! Never at any time has he said that.”