Queen’s Park duo Lawrence Shankland and Aidan Connolly are relishing the opportunity to impress in Ricky Sbragia’s Scotland Under-19s squad following first team experience in the Third Division.
The 17-year-olds have been rewarded for their form with a call-up to Sbragia’s under-19 training camp being held this week at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.
Lawrence, who has scored five league goals this season , said: “There is a lot of young talent playing in the Third Division.
“There is more of an opportunity than ever for young players to get first team football.
“Playing in a competitive league can only be good for our development.
“It’s great that you can be given an opportunity to be involved in the international set-up when playing in the Third Division.”
Having the opportunity to train under the guidance of Sbragia has inspired the Glasgow-born striker.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed training for Ricky. He’s a brilliant coach and training with top players has been a great experience.
“I just want to work hard, be focussed and hope it is enough to be included for future squads.”
Aidan, who won last month’s young player of the month award in the Third Division, has featured in under-16 Sky Sports Victory Shield squads in the past and is determined to make the most of under-19 inclusion.
He said: “It’s been a great season for me at Queen’s Park and being called up by Ricky has been a great reward.
“Training with the best players in my age-group has been a good experience.
“I’ve always enjoyed being involved in the international set-ups.”
More than half of the under-19 squad have experience of playing first-team football at their clubs, like Marcus Fraser (Celtic), John McGinn (St Mirren) and Barrie McKay (Rangers).
Aidan said he is aiming to continue impressing at Queen’s Park, who are the only amateur club in the Scottish League, and “see what happens at the end of the season”.