Gordon Greer has admitted he thought his chances of playing for Scotland had gone after several years of being overlooked for the senior squad.
The Brighton & Hove Albion centre-half, now 32, won one B cap against Ireland in late 2006 while with Kilmarnock.
Having failed to win a senior call-up after that, Greer expected that younger players would be preferred to him but now, after an impressive season at club level, he is set to be involved in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb.
“I did think my time had passed,” Greer admitted yesterday. “After not being selected over the past few years I thought they would go for a lot of younger players but the fact that Brighton have done so well [meant] I knew I’d have a chance.
“To be named in the squad is a very proud moment. I was delighted to see my team-mates Liam Bridcutt and Craig Mackail-Smith play for Scotland but it’s always been an ambition for me to play for my country and I’ll hopefully get that opportunity.
“I’m fit and you never know what can happen. It’s up to me to go and show what I can do and see where it takes me.
“The new manager has only been in place for a few months and everybody is playing for a position, and I’m no different.
“It will be tough, and Scotland are out of the running for qualification so it’s a chance for us to go with no pressure and to see what happens. I think international football can only be good for your game.”
While Greer is fit, clubmate Bridcutt has been ruled out of the game because of injury after the midfielder was initially selected in Gordon Strachan’s 28-man squad. Celtic pair Scott Brown and James Forrest are also unable to play, leaving Strachan short of midfield options.
Forrest had been a doubt for last month’s Scottish Cup final, in which Celtic beat Hibernian 3-0. Although he played, he looked less than fully fit, but is not a long-term worry.
Brown, however, is causing more concern at both international and club level. He was out for several months last season because of a chronic hip problem, and is now unsure of being fit enough to play for Celtic in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.
“He has to call it a day for a while,” Strachan said of Brown. “I think I’ll leave it to Celtic to tell you how long it’s going to be, because it’s not my right to tell you.
“I spoke to Broony for a long time this week, but it had nothing to do with football, I think it’s up to Celtic to tell you exactly what’s going on. It’s only fair.
“It’s a huge disappointment to lose him. Last weekend, every time Hibs had a move he would stop it. I don’t think he’s a natural sitter, but he can do it through sheer energy.”
Central defender Gary Caldwell has also been ruled out because of a hip condition, and is expected to undergo surgery soon.
Full-backs Danny Fox and Lee Wallace remain officially in the squad, but have been serious doubts since last week.
Leigh Griffiths, by contrast, has been passed fit. The Hibs striker was nursing a thigh knock during the cup final, although his club had denied reports on the eve of the match that he had gone to hospital for a scan.
Motherwell full-back Steven Hammell and Aston Villa midfielder Barry Bannan have been added to the squad since it was originally announced. The players met up on Saturday and will fly out to Croatia on Wednesday.