SCOTT McKenna believes that playing for Scotland this week will be the perfect way to prove to potential January suitors that he can cut it a higher level. The 23-year-old Aberdeen central defender – subject to a failed deadline day bid in the region of £6.5m from Aston Villa, after other rejected offers from Celtic, Queen’s Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest – handed in a transfer request this summer only to knuckle down at Aberdeen, where he is under contract until 2023. While his club manager Derek McInnes insists it was up to a club “to come up with the right money to take him away”, McKenna is keen to put himself in the shop window this week.

“International football is a step up from the SPFL,” said McKenna. “Teams will look at that and see if I can handle it. That’s always what I’m trying to prove to them. I just need to keep my head down and see what happens come January.

“The summer was probably the worst for me,” he added. “There was maybe a bit of expectancy for it to happen. When you have been working for the full year, building up to that point that you thought was going to be THE time, there was that wee bit of disappointment. But it can’t linger for too long. The window closed. We were in Croatia and we had a game an hour or two later. There was no time for me to dwell on things. As frustrating as it can be, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, apart from trying to play well.”

McKenna, meanwhile, said he was surprised there hadn’t been more interest in his young club-mate Lewis Ferguson – the 20-year-old who has been linked recently with Rangers. The club graced by his dad Derek and uncle Barry, Ferguson himself – under contract until 2024 - was also once in the Ibrox youth ranks.

“I’m actually surprised there has not been more interest,” said McKenna. “With his family background at Rangers, it is probably something you would expect. But I’m sure Aberdeen will be desperate to try and hold on to him. It’s something he will need to get used to, having his name in the paper and being linked with other clubs. It’s incredible the amount of pressure that he’s put under, but he takes everything in his stride.”