St Mirren manager Jack Ross has heaped praise on Stevie Mallan and Lewis Morgan for earning Scotland Under-21 calls-up amid a difficult season at club level.
The pair have been part of a Saints side that have been rooted to the Championship basement since last August, although a recent run of four league wins in six matches has seen Ross’ team cut the gap on Ayr United at the basement to just one point.
The midfielders have been included in Scot Gemmill’s side for next Tuesday’s friendly against Estonia at the Paisley 2021 stadium.
Speaking to St Mirren TV, Ross, whose team take on Dundee United in Saturday’s Irn-Bru Cup final at Fir Park, said: “The first thing I feel is pride for them, I think it’s well deserved and I think they’re both talented players.
“What I will say about both them is that they’ve had to endure a difficult season at times, probably a test of character for them as young men.
“I’ve spoken to them and said if they come through this they’ll be the better for it.
“They’re coming out the other side of it. Lewis’ form has probably been a bit more consistent, though I think over the last six to eight weeks we’ve seen the best of Stevie again, his contributions from dead-balls and open play – his desire to do well for the club.
“It’s great for them, it’s a reflection of the squad we have in there at the moment because you only get that recognition if the players around you are doing well and also for the club, despite the position we’re in we’re still producing players for that level.
“I’m delighted for them and I look forward to seeing them when the game comes around.”