IF Kevin Nisbet manages to pull on a Scotland jersey over the nation’s next three fixtures, he will complete one of the most remarkable comeback tales in Scottish football’s recent history.

Nisbet’s career so far has been a testament to his power to overcome setbacks, with his long and winding path to the top eventually leading all the way to Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad.

The Hibernian striker was released by Partick Thistle before reassessing his lifestyle, and fighting his way back up the divisions to Easter Road last summer, and there was no one who took more pride in his turnaround than his father Thomas, who never lost faith in his son’s ability.

Sadly, Thomas passed away from liver cancer just prior to Hibs Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts last October, but Nisbet says his biggest fan will be proudly looking down on Hampden if he has the chance to finally fulfil his promise as a player, and his promise to his dad to make it to the top.

“It will be a big moment for me and my family,” Nisbet said. “I think they are very proud of me and I know my dad will be looking down on me very proud as well.

“He has always had faith in me. He always said that I would make it even when I was in a hole after being released by Thistle, he always said I would bounce back. He always had that faith in me. I am just delighted to have kept a promise to him.

“When he was younger he went to a lot of the [Scotland] games, such as when they played England down there. I still have pictures of him down there. He was a big fan. He will be very proud of me now that I have the call.”

So high has Nisbet’s star risen that suitors from down south were sniffing around him in the winter transfer window, and a bid from English Championship side Birmingham City was rebuffed by Hibs despite a transfer request being handed in by their player.

A spell out of the team followed, but showing his trademark resilience, the 24-year-old fought his way back into manager Jack Ross’s favours, and he now says that the whole affair is water under the bridge. Not that he is quite ready to admit that his club were right to block his path.

“I think it’s easy for people to say now that thankfully he’s stayed,” he said.

“At the time it was a massive opportunity for me and it didn’t work out. That’s football.

“The day after the transfer window, I put it behind me and my attitude was spot on. That’s the reason I’m back in the team and scoring goals.

“Even all through January and after, the aftercare I got from Jack Ross, Pottsy [assistant manager John Potter] and all the backroom staff was great. It made that time a lot easier.

“[Jack] was brilliant. He just told me to keep on training well, keep coming on and playing well, because obviously the boys were doing so well and so I didn’t really expect to come back in right away.

"I just needed to take my chance. I did that and now I am back in.”

Nisbet references the fact that his attitude has been ‘spot on’ since his transfer to Birmingham City collapsed, but he is candid enough to admit that has not always been the case.

Partick Thistle supporters must be looking on in anguish at the one who got away after Nisbet's release from Firhill back in 2018, but the forward admits the blame for his failure to cut it with the Jags lies squarely on his shoulders. In hindsight, it was the making of him.

“Being released from Thistle when I was young was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “The penny dropped for me and it was about going and getting regular game-time.

“I’ve always had confidence in my ability to score goals – it was just having the chance to prove that. “I’ve been on an upward curve the last few years and it’s got me to where I am today. But there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.

“When I was younger, I don’t think my attitude was great if I’m honest. I think that’s why I did drop down. As soon as I dropped down, it was about getting back up there as quick as possible.

“Did I think it was going to be this quick? Probably not. But I think after the last few seasons, anything is possible. I’ve got my first Scotland call-up and I’m here to prove myself.

“I’m here on merit with the season I’ve had. It’s my first proper season as a starter in a Premiership team and I think I’ve taken it by storm. I think I’ve played really in games and even games where I’ve not scored, I’ve still put in a shift.

“I feel it’s the right time for me. For me now it’s just about doing well here and then going back to Hibs and getting top goalscorer.”