Glenn Middleton has had a dream year so far, lifting two trophies with St. Johnstone and playing European football.
Having been engrained within the Scotland youth age-groups from a young age, Middleton is now one of the more experienced members of the 21s squad and is looking forward to exerting his influence ahead of a fresh qualification campaign.
On Tuesday night, Scotland play Turkey in the first match of the European Qualifiers and the game is live on the BBC Scotland channel, kick-off 5.30pm.
Before travelling to Turkey, Middleton took time out of training to look back on a successful last year.
How have you found the start of the season?
I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve been playing a lot of football which is exactly what I’m after. Having the fans back has been great as well and made the European games that little bit more special. Even when you go out to do your warm-ups and the fans are there it just makes such a difference and gives you that extra bit of motivation. Playing against Galatasaray and LASK has really helped my development I think. Going up against those sorts of teams gives you confidence going forward so they were really beneficial experiences.
How do you look back on how your spell with St. Johnstone has gone so far?
I can’t thank everyone at the club enough for the way it’s been going, and hopefully that continues for the rest of the season. Since I’ve been there, I just feel I’ve had a great relationship with the manager and the coaching staff.
I’ve felt a lot respect from them and that makes it a lot easier when you go out and play.
What do those two cup winning medals from last season mean to you?
They mean everything. The Scottish Cup one in particular meant so much. I was so happy after that. When you’re a wee boy watching finals on the TV that’s what you want to do. It always looks pretty amazing so to have actually done it myself is something I’m proud of.
I now want to do that as many times as possible and re-live those memories. To have that experience at a relatively young age is great and hopefully I’m able to win a few more trophies going forward.
You’ve been involved in all of the age groups for Scotland, how does it feel to now be one of the more experienced players in the 21s age group?
It feels like it’s happened out of nowhere. I’ve always been the youngest in pretty much every team I’ve played in and now I’m one of the oldest here.
Being one of the more experienced players is now a new challenge for me to be more of a leader and help the team, especially at crucial moments in the games.
I’ve been through a campaign with the 21s already so hopefully that puts me in good stead and the lads can rely on me to deliver big moments in some of the games coming up.
I always try and be vocal no matter who I play with. I like having a little bit to say going into a game. If I can help some people on the trip then I’ll be happy with that.
There have now been a number of players who’ve recently made the step from the 21s team to the men’s international side, does that act as inspiration for you that you could follow in their footsteps?
I’ve been so happy for all of the lads who’ve been called up, especially when David (Turnbull), Billy (Gilmour) and Nathan (Patterson) were in the EUROS squad. That is every boy’s dream. Hopefully that can be me one day if I do the right things, work hard and keep progressing.
How much are you looking forward to the opening qualifying match against Turkey on Tuesday night?
It’s a game for us to be excited about. We know they’ll be a good side but there’s no reason why we can’t go there with belief to get a good result.
We played a training game against Wales earlier this week and that was really beneficial, to get to know each other and understand everyone’s style of play. We’ve trained well this week and are in a good place ahead of the game.