BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS youngster Callumn Morrison insists earning his maiden call-up to Scotland’s under-20 squad is the icing on the cake following a dream start to the season.
Morrison, 19, has been named in Scot Gemmill’s squad for the upcoming friendly against Turkey in Spain later this month.
It is a fitting reward for the winger’s superb breakthrough campaign with the Jambos, making 18 appearances and impressing with a series of swashbuckling showings against the likes of Aberdeen, Dundee and Motherwell.
He beamed: “It was really nice to hear I was in the squad, and it’s a bonus. I did see some things in the paper suggesting I might be in the next squad and that I was on the radar but you can’t pay too much attention to that. I just keep my head down and do what I’m doing.
“It will be special to pull on a Scotland shirt. We play Turkey next week and hopefully I can go away, impress and get a start in that game and we’ll see what happens from there.
“Things have gone brilliantly for me this season and I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing.
I definitely didn’t expect to make 18 appearances. The gaffer put me in, gave me a chance to show what I can do, and I think I’ve taken that. I can only thank the gaffer for that and hopefully there’s a lot more to come.”
Morrison’s development has been stark, having spent the first half of last season on loan with Stirling Albion before joining Brechin City in the Championship for the remainder of the season.
However, he has slotted seamlessly into the senior side.
He continued: “There were some nerves at first, coming into these big games, but the boys and the support of the fans have helped me to settle in quicker.
“We have a lot of experienced players in the dressing room and, no matter what position you look, there are guys in there who can help you and talk you through games.”
While Morrison will seek to impress Gemmill on international duty next week, a more pressing concern is bouncing back from Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Celtic and ensuring Hearts retain their place at the summit of the Premiership.
The Jambos host Kilmarnock this weekend, seeking to arrest the first sticky patch in an otherwise impressive campaign, having lost to the Hoops twice and only drawn at home to Hibs in their last three games.
Morrison told Hearts TV: “The boys are ready. You’ve got to pick yourself up from those disappointments and go again. We’re top of the league and need to keep kicking on.
“It’ll be good to have time to prepare for the Kilmarnock game, hopefully get a win there and make sure we are top going into the international break.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Dunne has expressed his pride after the Hearts loan star landed his first call-up to the Republic of Ireland senior squad.
The 21-year-old, capped twice at under-21 level, has been named in Martin O’Neill’s provisional 36-man squad for the upcoming Northern Ireland and subsequent Uefa Nations League clash with Denmark.
Dunne has dazzled for the Jambos since joining from Burnley on a deal until January, making 12 appearances and finding the net against St Johnstone and Rangers. Boss Craig Levein has already made it clear he wants to keep the stopper until the end of the season.
And that has not gone unnoticed by ex-Celtic gaffer O’Neill, who has handed Dunne the chance to stake his claim for an international place.
The former Manchester United kid tweeted: “Very proud achievement for me.”
Dunne’s Tynecastle teammate, Colin Doyle, has been named among the goalkeepers in the Ireland squad despite being yet to make his Hearts debut as he plays second fiddle to Zdenek Zlamal.