CALLUM SMITH admits he is pinching himself after winning a first Scotland call-up just two years after slogging it out in boys’ club football in Cowdenbeath.
The 17-year-old has made a massive impression after making his top-team breakthrough at Dunfermline in recent weeks.
The striker has scored twice in seven outings so far this season and has been rewarded for his sparkling form with inclusion in Donald Park’s first squad as under-19s coach for a tournament in Serbia in a fortnight’s time.
Smith, whose brother Connor plays for Hearts and has captained Scotland under-16s, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the call-up, it’s brilliant.
“It’s a shock for me because two years ago I was just playing boys’ club football with the Blue Brazil Boys’ Club in Cowdenbeath, and now I’m playing full-time football and just got into the Scotland under-19s squad.
“I’ve never been involved with any Scotland squads before, so it’s a brilliant achievement for me and I’m really proud of myself.
“My brother’s in the under-16 squad and has been captain, so we’re both doing well.”
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston is convinced Smith has a bright future ahead and hopes the teenager’s call-up is proof the Pars can be the perfect club for the nation’s best young talent.
He said: “It’s different class and he deserves it, he’s been doing really well.
“If he keeps playing the way he’s been playing I don’t think it will be long until he’s in the under-21s squad, never mind the 19s.
“It’s about trying to get into the first-team squad and being round about it.
“If you’re good enough you’ll be involved. That’s always been the message at Dunfermline.
“At that age it’s important to play first-team football, that’s how you progress.
“That’s why at some of the bigger clubs some of the players maybe go a wee bit stale, because they don’t play first-team football and they go backwards a wee bit.
“Whereas our boys are progressing really well and trying to get involved with the first-team at a really young age.
“They’re training with the first-team every day and that can only help as well. I’m sure it will make a big difference.”