Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes has hailed team-mate Kenny McLean as the “best player in the country” over the past two months.
The midfielder, whose tremendous form has helped second place Aberdeen build up a eight-point lead over Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership, was disappointed to have missed out on a place in Gordon Strachan’s 30-man Scotland squad for the upcoming double-header.
The 25-year-old made his international debut in a friendly against Czech Republic last March but has been unable to keep himself in Strachan’s plans.
He continued his recent form with a man-of-the-match worthy performance in the 2-0 win over Hearts, and Hayes believes if McLean keeps his standards high then it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a regular in the Scotland set-up.
“I am trying to work him up an Irish passport to see if he can play for us,” joked Hayes, who’s in the Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier against Wales later this evening.
“He has been the best player in the country for the last couple of months, there is no doubt about that.
“He dominates every game and sets the tone for us. He is one of the fittest guys I have seen in my life and all he can do is keep doing what he is doing and he will get his rewards eventually.
“He has some good players in front of him in the Scotland squad and players who are doing well down in England at a good level. If he continues he will get his rewards.”
Meanwhile, Hayes revealed he has been badgering Aberdeen team-mate Niall McGinn, who’s contract expires this summer, to sign a new deal with the club.
The two make up a deadly duo patrolling the wings for Derek McInnes’ side and they are also firm friends off the park.
Hayes added: “I text Niall every day to tell him not to leave because I will have no one to go to Nandos with!”