IT is fitting that in a week where Kai Fotheringham’s trademark ‘phone to ear’ celebration brought such joy to a young fan, that he too got a call that meant so much to him.

The Dundee United attacker has been rewarded for his fine recent form not only with the player of the month award for The Championship, but with a summons to join Scot Gemmill’s under-21 squad for Scotland’s crucial European Championship qualification matches against Belgium and Hungary.

It is the latest in a recent series of moments that have had the 20-year-old pinching himself, but perhaps the one that took him most aback was seeing a photo on social media of a young fan mimicking his goal celebration during a youth match.

Having copied the likes of Lionel Messi as a youngster himself, Fotheringham couldn’t quite believe that kids were now looking up to him in a similar fashion, even if he wouldn’t place himself in the same bracket as the ‘GOAT’ quite yet.

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But just to have the honour of being a hero to that young fan is enough for now, and warranted a response at the very least from an honoured Fotheringham.

“That’s a bit mad, to be fair,” Fotheringham said.

“I gave the wee man a little quote tweet back because, at that age, you’d always like to get a reply.

“That’s the sort of person I want to be. I’m quite humble and will always take time for the supporters; that’ll never change.

“The celebration was actually just something me and the physio at Dundee United made up at training and I did it after scoring. So, it has become a bit of a good-luck charm.”

Fotheringham’s recent form though has little to do with luck, and a lot to do with the extra work he has been putting into his game behind the scenes with United coach and Tannadice legend, Dave Bowman.

Though, as much as he appreciates the footballing tips from a club icon, he won’t be looking to emulate the infamous 17-match ban he got late in his career at Forfar after picking up five red cards in the one game.

“He’ll notice something in a game on a Saturday and mention it to me, and we’ll look at the clips on a Monday or Tuesday, and work on that throughout the week on an individual basis,” he said.

“It helps solve any problems and work on things that could have been better during the game.

“We do a lot of finishing work and a lot of crossing — things in the final third that, although are going well at the moment, I need to keep on top of and improving. There are always wee things you can change or add, that can make you a top player.

“As long as I don’t take any of his tips for shouting at refs, then I’ll be alright!”

His manager, Jim Goodwin, has also been a huge influence, spotting something in him upon his return from a loan spell with Stirling Albion in January and making him a firm part of the United first team picture.

“The gaffer has been brilliant for me,” he said.

“I managed to impress him a lot when he first arrived at the club and he gave me a few starts in the Premiership, which was a big opportunity for me.

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“Coming into this season, I obviously didn’t know where I’d be and where he saw me in the squad — but from the off, I started pre-season strongly and he has been behind me all the way and demanding that consistency.

“The standard he drives in training pushes players on every week and, if I look at where I was three years ago to where I am now, it is night and day.

“Just feeling part of the first team has made a huge difference. When you are coming through the academy, you don’t always feel like you have that security behind you.

“This year, I feel like I have taken my chances, been really consistent and — even when I haven’t had the best performances — have managed to score, assist and impact games. That’s been the biggest difference.

“I was at a lower level last season so it was maybe a little easier, but the Championship is a good standard.”

Club supporters can sometimes be a little wary about their top talent going off on international duty due to the risk of injury, but Fotheringham is already sure that the experience of training alongside the likes of hot Liverpool prospect Ben Doak will see him return to Tannadice a better player.

“It’s been brilliant,” he said.

“The players here are playing at a really high level and, already, seeing some of the stuff Doak could do in training was unbelievable. It was a bit surreal.

“You’ve just got to learn what you can from training alongside players like that and hopefully take it into the games going forward, and then back to United.

“It can only lift your standards and it’s about taking little things from their game and adding that, and there are other things that they can maybe take from you.”