NOBODY in Scotland needs to be told about the goalscoring prowess of Scott McTominay.

The midfielder has netted on no fewer than six occasions during the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, helped his national team move to the cusp of qualification for the finals in Germany next summer and become a hero to the Tartan Army in the process.

At Manchester United, though, he is not appreciated to the same extent for some strange reason. The 6ft 3in 26-year-old has become something of a peripheral figure at his club during the 2023/24 campaign. Indeed, he had looked set to depart Old Trafford during the last transfer window.

But Scotland assistant John Carver is certain that is all about to change following his weekend heroics - and he believes that can only be good news for the country.

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McTominay came off the bench with three minutes remaining on Saturday with United trailing Brentford 1-0 in a Premier League game at home. He struck twice in injury-time to secure a much-needed win that lifted his side to eighth in the table and eased the pressure that was mounting on his manager Erik ten Hag.

Carver was overjoyed for the player and gave him a warm welcome when he joined up with his compatriots at their Glasgow city centre hotel on Sunday evening ahead of their forthcoming matches against Spain and France.

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“I just called over to him, ‘Here’s the goalscoring McTominay!’,” he said. “He’s had a tough time lately and he deserves the credit.

“It shows you the type of character Scott is. He could have easily thrown his toys out the pram, but he has knuckled down, worked extremely hard and has waited for his opportunity. He came into the game at the weekend and you could see the delight on his face when he scored those goals. I was delighted for him.

“He has shown a bit of patience. He could have gone in the summer. But he didn’t go, he wanted to stay at Man Utd and that shows you his character. He has shown he’s good enough to get in the team and this is an opportunity for him.

“He loves Man Utd. You need a certain personality to play at Man Utd. He’s got that in abundance.  I can’t tell Ten Hag how to do his job but there will be a lot of support to get him in the team from Man Utd fans. You saw the reaction of the crowd when he scored.”

Carver knows the man who has been one of the standout performers, possibly the standout performer, during Scotland’s remarkable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign will be in a positive frame of mind going into the Group A match against Spain in Seville on Thursday night following his weekend double. 

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He fully expects the 43-times capped internationalist, who has scored doubles against Cyprus and Spain at home and been on target against Georgia at home and Cyprus away in the past seven months, to once again be a key figure in La Cartuja. 

Could McTominay provide the moment of magic up front that secures a draw or a win against Luis de la Fuentes’ charges and clinches a place in the finals? Do not bet against it.

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“He is coming into the Scotland camp with a huge amount of confidence,” he said. “After all the disappointment he’s had at a club the size of Man Utd, one of the biggest in the world, to go into that atmosphere and do what he did under that much pressure, shows us all his temperament.

“Scott is an excellent player and the fact he can play in a number of different positions is brilliant for us. When I first came in, he was on the right side of the back three because we needed him to play in that position.

“He can also play the holding midfield role, but as you saw in Cyprus, he can also play as an attacking midfielder coming in from the right. He is a multi-functional player and wherever he plays, we know he is going to give everything for the cause. His goals against Spain in March were fantastic. They'll be looking at him, for sure.”

Carver and Scotland manager Steve Clarke, who has not called up a replacement for Ryan Jack after the Rangers midfielder pulled out of the squad, will certainly be watching Lewis Ferguson intently during training at Lesser Hampden this week.

Former Hamilton and Aberdeen youngster Ferguson has gone from strength to strength since moving to Bologna in Italy last year. He was made captain in a game against Empoli earlier this month. He helped the Serie A outfit come from 2-0 down and earn a 2-2 draw with Inter Milan in a league game in the San Siro on Saturday.

With Billy Gilmour getting back to his best with Brighton this term and Callum McGregor showing fine form with Celtic domestically and in Europe, he will have his work cut out getting in the starting line-up to face Spain. Carver, though, stressed that he is very much in their thoughts.  

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“I think Steve is just going to go with what we’ve got,” he said. “Guys have been waiting for their opportunity so this might be their time. Young Fergie is going ever so well. There might be an opportunity for him, but that area of the pitch is quite competitive.

“He just has to wait for his opportunity because we have good players in his area and we have been on a good run. But he’s getting closer for sure. He got another assist the other night and was captain, which is a fantastic accolade for him.

“I’ve seen him growing in the time I’ve been here. I remember seeing him when he was at Aberdeen and he has grown since then. Physically, he looks stronger. His development in Italy, playing in a massively improved side, has helped him and has helped us.

“We can see him maturing, developing physically and mentally and when he gets his opportunity I’m sure he’ll cope with it.”

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