Scotland Under-21 striker Fraser Hornby caught national team boss Alex McLeish’s attention with a stunning hat-trick, but admits it is his Everton manager that he needs to impress first.
The 18-year-old scored all the goals as Scot Gemmill’s side breathed fresh life into their Euro 2019 qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Andorra on Thursday evening.
McLeish was an interested observer at Tynecastle and although Hornby did his long-term international prospects no harm, the teenager recognises that his first task is to become a recognised member of the Toffees team.
An 82 minute run out against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League last July under then boss Sam Allardyce remains his only outing in a Blues jersey but he remains hopeful of forcing his way into Marco Silva’s plans
Hornby, whose contract at Goodison runs until summer 2021, said: “Hopefully I can get a few appearances for the first team at Everton, if not then I’ll be happy to go out on loan somewhere.
“I’ve not really had a chat with anyone about my future at Everton, I’ve kept my head down and I’m taking each day as it comes and working hard.
“I’m feeling good and hopefully I can get a few chances in the first team.
“I’m working hard everyday and I’m doing the best I can do. If I perform well then I’ll get the chance.”
McLeish congratulated the players in person in the changing room after the game and Hornby hopes he has left a lasting impression.
He added: “It’s good to have the first team manager at the game and hopefully I impressed him.
“It’s an amazing feeling to score a hat-trick in any game. I’ve scored some for Everton but it’s my first hat-trick for Scotland so it made it extra special.
“It’s still a fairly new position for me so I’m still learning and hopefully I can keep getting better and better.
“They made it really difficult for us in the first half, they were sat deep but we knew the chances would come. I wasn’t getting frustrated because with the quality in our team I knew we would get chances.”
The under-21s now travel to Arnhem needing to beat the Netherlands, whom their trail by a point with three games left, on Tuesday if they are to have any chance of landing a Group 4 play-off spot.
Having already beaten the Dutch earlier in the campaign and overcome France at this summer’s Toulon Tournament, Hornby insists the Scottish youngsters fear no-one.
He added: “It’s a really tough group but with the quality we’ve got in our squad I don’t see why we can’t go to Holland and beat them.
“We can’t beat anyone on our day, France, Holland – we were unlucky against England. We’ve got great quality and are capable of beating anyone.
“There is always a chance, if we keep playing the way we have been and winning games, I don’t see why we can’t qualify.”