Greg Docherty has told old Rangers team-mate Ryan Jack to forget about his Euros disappointment and focus on firing Scotland to the World Cup.
Jack was left devastated when he was told he would need surgery to cure a long-standing calf complaint, ruling him out of Steve Clarke’s plans for the summer.
He confirmed last week he had successfully undergone the procedure and was now concentrating on re-joining Steven Gerrard’s squad ahead of their defence of this season’s Premiership title.
Hull midfielder Docherty – who grew close to Jack during a two-and-a-half-year stint at Ibrox – believes his friend should also be targeting a return to the international scene.
And he reckons helping Clarke’s side qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar would be the perfect way to sooth the wounds caused by Jack’s Euros heartache.
Docherty told the PA news agency: “Jacko and I were close and I loved being around him. He was a top boy who helped me a lot off the pitch.
“So I’m devastated for him that he’s missing out this summer.
“The whole of the nation probably were too because his performances like the Serbia game, where I don’t think he gave the ball away once through 120 minutes, show he’s kicked onto a new level.
“He’s been hampered a few times by injuries but he always bounces back. Thankfully there’s a World Cup next year to aim for and I’ve no doubt once he’s fit again Steve Clarke will call him up.”
Docherty was forced to abandon his dreams of starring for his boyhood club when Gerrard made clear he was surplus to requirements at Ibrox.
But the gamble he took on joining Grant McCann’s Hull paid off with a League One winner’s medal.
Now the 24-year-old hopes to roll the dice in the Championship and follow the likes of Kenny McLean and John McGinn to the riches of the Premier League.
And with Jack ruled out of this summer’s action and McLean a serious doubt after injuring knee ligaments while on duty for Norwich over the weekend, he has not completely given up hope that he might himself land a shock Euros call-up from Clarke.
“I haven’t heard anything, so I won’t be disappointed if I’m not involved,” he said. “It would be massive to be called up but I’ve focused on other things this year.
“I’m a supporter so I’ll be down in London for the game against England regardless. My best mate lives in London and he’s booked about five different pubs so we’ll be sorted for somewhere to watch it.
“International football is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. I’d love to get that chance to play in a big tournament too.
“Maybe I’ll give myself a better opportunity playing in the Championship next season. I’ll just have to see what happens.
“I just can’t wait to get started in the Championship. For years people have said to me my style would suit it. I’ve worked so hard and overcome a few setbacks, but I’m in a much better place.
“It’s a confidence booster knowing boys like John and Kenny have come down and done so well having played against them myself up in Scotland.
“They’re fantastic players but I also back myself and feel when I did come up against them, I held my own.
“You never know what can happen. Kenny and John probably never envisioned how quickly it would change for them but that’s football.
“Look at Villa when John first went down. Around Christmas time they were quite far off the play-offs.
“But things changed and John ended up scoring the winning goal in the play-off final to take them to the Premier League. That’s the sort of thing you dream of.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe