Hearts assist-machine Barrie McKay 'knocking' on Scotland door as most creative midfielder

Andy Halliday believes Hearts team-mate Barrie McKay must be “knocking on the door” of an international call-up.

Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad announcement for the games coming up in the summer will be of great interest. Not only could the team be playing two World Cup play-off matches but also Nations League fixtures as well.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson revealed he expects Clarke to name a bigger squad for the matches, with the Ukraine match primed for May 31 if it goes ahead, and is hopeful McKay will be one of the players under consideration.

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It is a view shared by Halliday who described his colleague as “superb” having been set up by McKay for his second goal in the 3-1 win over Hibs.

Barrie McKay has been backed for Scotland recognition by Andy Halliday. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Barrie McKay has been backed for Scotland recognition by Andy Halliday. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Barrie McKay has been backed for Scotland recognition by Andy Halliday. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

It took the creative midfielder to nine assists in the league, the second highest amount behind James Tavernier.

"I’m not a player who calls for people to get international caps because I think the playing squad we’ve got right now in Scotland is brilliant," Halliday said.

“Steve Clarke's done an exceptional job with the national team. But the form Barrie McKay has shown over the last three or four months he must certainly be knocking on the door.

"I thought he was exceptional again on Saturday. Another assist to his ever-grown tally but his overall impact on the game was excellent. He's been a massive player for us.”

The Scotland national team is well stocked with midfielders and creative players, from captain Andy Robertson to John McGinn and Billy Gilmour, and then Ryan Christie and Stuart Armstrong.

But of the players who have been in and around squads in the last year or two, McKay has the highest number of league assists this season and no one creates chances for team-mates more regularly.

“It’s unfortunate for him but it’s a great headache for Steve Clarke,” Halliday said about the competition.

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"I think anyone who has come into that side over the last two or three years hasn't let anyone down.

"Baz has got to do what he’s got to do. He's got to continue the club form and try and knock on the door because I’m sure he wants to take the next step to get into that team.”

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