Eamonn Brophy insists he isn’t yet contemplating a Scotland call-up next month despite his eye-catching return to scoring form with Kilmarnock.
The 23-year-old’s late winner against Rangers at Rugby Park on Wednesday night was his fourth goal in his last three league outings for the revitalised Ayrshire side. Brophy is sure to be on the radar of Scotland manager Steve Clarke, his former boss at Killie, ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel at Hampden on 26 March.
Clarke handed Brophy his Scotland debut against Cyprus last June, then drafted him in as a late replacement for the injured Lawrence Shankland for the Scots’ last match against Kazakhstan in November, when he was an unused substitute.
“Scotland is not on my mind at the moment, Kilmarnock is,” said Brophy. “If I am scoring here and doing well, it’ll take care of itself. It’s been a massive privilege to be involved with my country, but I don’t want to think too much about it at the moment.”
Brophy puts his improvement in recent weeks down to his burgeoning partnership with Nicke Kabamba, Killie’s January signing from Hartlepool United, who provided the assist for the 88th-minute goal against Rangers.
“Nicke has helped me a lot,” said Brophy. “He’s been brilliant for me. Last season, I think I played my best football alongside Greg Stewart and it’s been good to get some help with another striker. He’s taken some of the pressure off me and he needs to take a lot of credit. The boys behind us have been terrific, too, but Nicke has been a massive help for me.”
Brophy, who has now scored eight goals in all competitions this season, hopes to carry momentum into Sunday’s home game against Hibs when a victory for Kilmarnock would see them leapfrog the Easter Road men into the Premiership top six.
“We look forward to Sunday now as that’s another massive game,” he added.
“Hibs is just as important as Rangers to us. I hope it can ignite the season. It was a massive result on Wednesday, but it was only three points.
“We’ve been excellent in the second half of the season so far. Hopefully, it can continue. We don’t get carried away and we’ll keep trying to move forward.”
Brophy, left, who began his career at Celtic’s youth academy, knows his goal against Rangers would have been relished by supporters of the eight-in-a-row champions just as much as it was cheered by the Killie fans at Rugby Park.
“I was getting a few texts [from Celtic mates] on the day of the game,” he said with a smile. “But that’s not my focus. My focus is Kilmarnock and we were delighted with a massive win for us. I was absolutely delighted to score at the end against Rangers. The most important thing was the three points and the boys are buzzing. There’s no better feeling than scoring a goal when the team wins, especially against the Old Firm.
“I was hoping I’d get an opportunity at some stage in the game. Against the Old Firm, you have to defend a fair bit and I was dropping towards that midfield line, but I was hoping something would fall for me.
“After going behind in the first half, I thought the boys were excellent in the second half and we just needed to concentrate on ourselves. We showed great character.”