Hibs defender Ryan Porteous: I'm ready now to be a Scotland centre-back

Thrilled to be named in Steve Clarke’s latest Scotland squad, Ryan Porteous says the next step is to actually earn some game time.

Gaining his first invitation in November 2019, he was involved in further national gatherings in 2020 and 2021 but, since then, the Hibs defender has waited longer than he would have liked for a recall.

But, with the upcoming trio of Nations League matches, against Ukraine, at Hampden and then in Poland, with the home match against Republic of Ireland sandwiched in between, he is determined to make up for lost time and establish himself on the international scene.

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Informed of his inclusion by pal and club-mate Martin Boyle, who texted him advising him to cancel some golf rounds they had planned, the 23-year-old said it is always an “honour” to be involved, having worked his way up through the age groups, but he insisted a full cap would be the epitome.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Hibernian's Ryan Porteous during a Hibernian Training Session at the Hibernian Training Centre, on September 15, 2022, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
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His absence from the squad coincided with Hibs’ dip in form, and a difficult time for Porteous off the field as he was charged and ultimately found guilty of throwing a plastic tumbler in a pub. But he says he has regained his focus and wants to elevate himself and Hibs.

“With previous call ups I was still young and a bit naive but I feel I'm ready now to make that step up and be a Scotland centre-back. That is the next step for me. I've put myself in a good position to do that.

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“I have been solely focused on football and trying to let that do the talking and I’m just glad that I have got the reward for that. Everybody has learning curves but it’s in the past and I’m looking forward to concentrating on football and hopefully I can maintain that.

“We know that there are always opportunities, Steve Clarke has shown that, and I know it would be a special feeling if I could get that chance but I’ll just go in there and give the best representation of myself, show what I can do again and learn from that camp. I feel I always take a lot away from them.”

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A transitional period for Hibs, Porteous believes he has learned from every coach who has come and gone but now Lee Johnson is the one trying to hone his skills and Porteous welcomes the input.

“Maybe in the first few games of the season I don't think the team really clicked. But there’s 16 new players so we need to give them time to settle in and the manager time to put across what he wants. I’m enjoying working with him and looking forward to developing.”

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Two points off third-placed Aberdeen, with a chance to leapfrog the Pittodrie side today, he knows that helping the club back to the higher echelons, with consistently-high personal performances, will bolster his international hopes.

In the last year of his contract he is unwilling to commit himself yet but seeing the club challenging again and players, including himself, improving under Johnson, means he isn’t racing for the door. Add to that the latest confirmation that Hibs aren’t a barrier to his Scotland ambitions and while it may not be enough to keep him in Leith, it won’t be the reason he leaves.

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