LIAM Kelly has backed his Coventry City team mates Dom Hyam and Michael Rose to perform well for Scotland if Steve Clarke hands them a call-up in the new season.

Hyam and Rose helped Coventry keep the best defensive record in League One in England last term and win promotion to the Championship as third tier title winners.

Clarke, who is short of quality options at centre back, has watched the pair in action for Mark Robins’ side since taking charge of the national team last year.

Dundee born defender Hyam, who has been capped by Scotland at both under-19 and under-21 level, and Rose, the former Aberdeen, Forfar and Ayr United stopper, are both 24.

Sky Blues captain Kelly, the former Kilmarnock midfielder who made one appearance for Scotland in a friendly against Luxembourg back in 2012, believes they could cope with the step up.

“They were fantastic all season,” he said. “They had the best defensive record in the league and they won the league.

“They are playing in the Championship next season and they are still very young so it would be massive for them and I think they would fully deserve the chance to get a call.

“They will be playing in the Championship, which is one of the biggest leagues in Europe still, and is of great quality. I’m sure he (Clarke) will be keeping an eye on them.”

Kelly believes Hyam and Rose would relish the chance to represent their national team. “They were two that played near enough every single game so it (international football) is a natural progression for them,” he said. 

“Look at Rose. It is his first season down in England and Dom is probably only his second or third full season playing. But they’ve been fantastic and only got better as the season went on.

“I only played briefly, 45 minutes. But I’m sure if they get the opportunity, they’d love to. They have spoken about it and they would love to get the call up. I think they deserve the call up and it would be nice for them to get it.”

Kelly played against Rangers on several occasions during his time at Rugby Park and enjoyed being back at Ibrox with Coventry on Saturday.

He was unable, though, to prevent the visitors being beaten 2-0 and predicted Steven Gerrard’s men will challenge strongly for the Premiership title in the 2020/21 campaign.  

“It’s been about seven years since I played up here,” he said. “It was nice to be back up. It felt a bit strange, but it is nice to get a run out in a big occasion like this early in our pre-season. Obviously, Rangers start next week and we’ve got seven or eight weeks to go.

“The last time I played here it was when the news broke about everything going on (after Rangers were put into administration back in 2012) and there were big protests outside the stadium.

“It has come full circle now. They went down to the bottom tier and back up again and looking to end the nine league wins for Celtic, so it’s a big year for them. It’ll be an interesting season.”

Kelly added: “Saturday was a strange occasion because we’re playing two different teams in each half, lots of substitutions going on, it’s behind closed doors so it’s hard to tell.

“But their results pre-season have been good with the wins over Nice and Lyon - two fantastic results - so they’ll be ready to rock and roll next week and I’m sure they’ll want to win the league this season.”