IF Lyndon Dykes ends up even as half as good on the pitch as the standard of the game he talks off of it, then Scotland may just have uncovered an absolute gem.

National team supporters have always taken to players who have a gallus air about them, and Dykes is world class when it comes to self-belief. And after all, he learned from one of the best.

James McFadden, the darling of the Tartan Army in the modern era, has been mentoring Dykes ever since the Australian-born striker made his first tentative steps in the Scottish professional game on his dad’s home patch of Dumfries.

Now, having followed McFadden all the way into the Scotland squad, the 24-year-old says he can be the next maverick talent to have the Tartan Army dreaming of the heady heights of tournament qualification once again.

“Hopefully,” Dykes said. “Something like that, yeah.

“I’m just going to work my hardest and hopefully everyone can see that.

“I want to be an international player and I want to have a great career for Scotland. I want to be up there with the best.

“I played with James McFadden at Queen of the South and I spoke to him a lot before I came here. That’s someone I look at and think ‘I want to be like him’. He was great for Scotland.

“He came in with Gary Naysmith and he was a great lad. I got on with him straight away and he gave me great advice.

“He taught me a lot of things on the pitch and off the pitch. I speak to him for advice in my career as well, I’ve rang him up loads of times and he’s always had good words to say to me and has always been there for me.

“He’s always been top class to me.”

As well as the Scottish national team, another thing Dykes shares a passion with the younger McFadden for is a madcap hairdo, whetting the appetite for what he may do ahead of his probable international debut against Israel on Friday night.

“I’ve seen a couple of his hairstyles,” said Dykes, “So I might need to pull something out!”

The debate over which country Dykes would opt to represent – Australia, the country of his birth, or Scotland, where his parents were born – has appeared to drag on for an age, but it seems there wasn’t quite so much dubiety in the mind of Dykes as there was among supporters.

Despite holding talks with Australia manager Graham Arnold and his assistant Rene Meulensteen, as well as with Steve Clarke, Dykes insists his heart – much to the approval of his family - was always dark blue.

“They were all supportive of my decision and, in the end, I wanted to play for Scotland,” Dykes said.

“I’m sure they would have backed me, wherever I wanted to play.

“Scotland gave me a chance in my career, really. Without this country, I wouldn’t be where I am in football. So, that was a major thing in my head.

“From the get-go, I wanted to play for Scotland. Obviously I spoke with Graham Arnold and Rene Meulensteen – they were always great with me. But, in the end, speaking with Steve Clarke here, he knows what we spoke about before lockdown, he knows how I reached my decision.

“I’m just ready to get my head down, work hard and win games. A lot of people would have said that Australia was the easy route. But, with the squad that they have here in Scotland and the boys coming through, as well, it’s only a matter of time before we get back to where we should be.

“My job is to do my best and push Scotland on further.”

Former Livingston striker Dykes is now at Mark Warburton’s Queens Park Rangers, but the speculation surrounding the forward during the summer was that he may be about to make the move to Glasgow Rangers instead.

It’s all a far cry from his days with the Surfers Paradise Apollo SC back on the Gold Coast just a few short years ago, but as self-confident as Dykes is, he is also grounded enough not to let the recent buzz around him affect his game.

Indeed, that was the case when it seemed a move to Ibrox was on the cards, with Dykes never contemplating that he might be about to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Britain, never mind Scotland.

“There wasn’t any point I was thinking about signing anywhere to be honest,” Dykes said.

“I was just focused on being a Livingston player and whatever happened, happened.

“The QPR thing came up and I was over the moon that it did. I met the manager and he had great things to say, and great things he wanted me to do. That came up and the rest is history now.

“It’s been a bit crazy, especially the last few weeks. I’m the type of person where a lot of things go on, but I just get on with it.

“Especially in football, people say things and it never happens, or there’s a lot of stuff that people say that isn’t true.

“When I was at Livingston, I enjoyed my time there, everyone was great. I think I improved and now it’s my time to improve even more.

“I can get even better at QPR. I’ve enjoyed the first two weeks and now it’s internationals, so it’s been crazy to be honest.

“I’m really happy though and I just want to work hard and be the best I can.”