New Hearts defender Andraz Struna hopes a switch to Tynecastle can boost his chances of lining up against Scotland at Hampden in a vital World Cup qualifier.
The 25-times capped Slovenia right-back became Hearts head coach Ian Cathro’s fourth January signing yesterday after agreeing a move until the end of the season.
Struna, who is set to fill the void left by injured Scotland internationalist Callum Paterson, has not played club football since leaving Greek side PAS Giannina last summer and has subsequently not featured for his national team.
However, the 27-year-old, who played against England during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, believes Hearts can help him catch national team head coach Srecko Katanec’s attention ahead of the March 26 Group F showdown in Glasgow.
He said: “I’m looking forward first to start playing at Hearts and then after, of course, to try and get back into the national team.
“And maybe I can play against Scotland here.
“It’s an amazing feeling to play for the national team, and proud.
“I came to Scotland to check the style of football then I’ll give some advice to the Slovenian team. No, I’m kidding.”
Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash at Raith Rovers might come too soon for Struna but the defender reckons it will not take him long to regain match fitness following a frustrating period of inactivity.
Struna, who has also played in Poland with KS Cracovia and with Slovenian sides Kiran and Koper, added: “I haven’t played since the summer so I do not know if I will play on Sunday but my fitness level is good and I feel good.
“I can’t wait to start training with the team and to feel football.
“I’m very happy to be here and I’m looking forward to helping the team achieve its goals for the second part of the season.
“I have some experiences abroad and those with the national side so that will help me here.
“I like to play an offensive game. I’m an attacking full back and I think I’ll be good fit based on the ideas presented to me by the club and the head coach. I think I’m going fit in.
“Hearts want to play football so I feel optimistic.”
Hearts head coach Cathro has also signed veteran Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes and former Hamilton left-back Lennard Sowah, while French midfielder Malaury Martin joined from Norwegian top-flight club Lillestrom on Tuesday.