CALLUM Morris is hopeful his return to Dunfermline can keep him in the thoughts of Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.
The former Dundee United defender made the switch to Aberdeen last summer but, after picking up an Achilles tendon injury in pre-season, failed to play a single game for the Dons.
Frustrated, the 26-year-old asked Derek McInnes if he could move on in search of first-team games and rejoined the Pars when the transfer window opened on January 1.
The former Newcastle United trainee admits his maiden international call-up from Northern Ireland for the World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in September, and his inclusion a month later for the Germany and San Marino clashes, convinced him he needed to leave Pittodrie.
And he is now desperate to get the game-time that was missing in the north-east after penning a short-term deal with the Fifers.
He said: “To go away with the international set-up was amazing.
“There’s ups and downs in football and at that point I was thinking I was going to get my chance at Aberdeen.
“It was September time and I was working hard to get as fit as I could for when the manager gave me the call to go in and perform.
“Getting the call-up from Northern Ireland gave me the impetus to kick on again, especially going away and paying with English Premier League players like Steven Davis, Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and others.
“It was amazing and it gives you that boost and the drive and hunger to be more determined to get into your club team.
“That was another reason why the manager at Aberdeen was happy to let me go, because I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to be playing to be involved with Northern Ireland.
“That was why I was desperate to get out and get something sorted, and get somewhere where I think I can establish myself.
“And also somewhere where there’s a good squad and a lot of competition.”
Morris, who played for the Republic of Ireland under-21s but qualifies for the North thanks to his Belfast-born dad, spent two years with Dunfermline before leaving in 2014 to join Dundee United.
He admits his failure to play at Aberdeen was a disappointment, but he is keen to prove himself all over again at East End Park.
He added: “I need to play games. I’ve not played since the back end of last season and it was nice to know there was interest. The whole package at Dunfermline was perfect for me just now.
“It is frustrating because I think I’ve got more than enough to go and play in that Aberdeen team but I’m just looking forward to fighting for my place at Dunfermline now.”