AS accomplished a player as Scott McTominay is, to compare him to Robert Lewandowski – as McTominay himself would admit – is a bit of a stretch. But that doesn’t mean the Manchester United midfielder can’t look to emulate the Polish goalscoring icon in ways that can still benefit his game.

As someone who believes wholeheartedly in football being a sport that gives back what you put into it, McTominay can’t help but be hugely impressed by the work the 33-year-old Bayern Munich forward puts in to stay at the top of the game even this far into his career.

McTominay has his fingers crossed that he will get a closer look at Lewandowski in action at Hampden tonight, having only come up against him once before in a pre-season friendly in 2018.

And he hopes that a similar work ethic and commitment to improvement can also help him to maintain his position as a key squad member for one of the biggest clubs in the world – and for his country – for many years to come.

“I’ve never played against him properly before,” McTominay said. “I think it was pre-season against Bayern Munich away from home, Jose Mourinho was the manager.

“But obviously, his goal record speaks for itself. He’s a phenomenal footballer. The way he looks after his body, it’s something I aspire to be like when I’m a bit older.

“You get what you put into football. He obviously works extremely hard at his game and looking after himself. He deserves every credit and all the success in the world for that.

“It’s what football’s about, you always want to improve. Doing things in your spare time looking to improve, looking at every detail.

“As you get older you start being more wise about your body and the way you can adapt to certain situations in football and off the pitch as well.

“I’m just maintaining similar to what I used to do when I was 18, 19, the gym work and the analysis work, things I’ve been really conscious of over the years. It’s always benefited me and it’s what I’ll continue to do.

“Every year you want to get better and better as a player and obviously as a person as well it helps.

“Now I’m getting more confidence and becoming more senior, you’d like to think in terms of football and playing for Scotland, you start having more input in what happens.

“I feel like my opinions, and the way I address the game of football, is positive.”

The growing influence that McTominay feels he is able to exert on the Scotland squad has been helped, he feels, by the constant exposure to top-level talents like Lewandowski over the years.

So he has urged his Scotland teammates to learn from the experience against a good side like Poland this evening, even if their star man is given a breather ahead of his country’s World Cup play-off semi-final against either Sweden or the Czech Republic next Tuesday.

“Whenever you are playing for Scotland you want to play against the best,” he said. “That’s the only way you find our if you are any good or not. You don’t get any better by playing against not as a good a calibre of player.

“For us, there will be boys who’ve never played against someone like Robert Lewandowski - myself included. It’s important that we look at him as a threat but if he plays it means you need full concentration and if he doesn’t then it’s full concentration on someone else.

“It doesn’t matter if he’s a big name or is just a young kid who’s coming up. You pay your respects to everybody you play against – 100 percent.

“Poland are a good team and we know them quite well from watching them this week. They’ve obviously got some very good players and we know a few of them really well.

“Whatever team they put out – it obviously depends on what they want to do ahead of their other game during the week – it will be a good test.

“But for us, it will be about keeping our unbeaten run going.”

That run currently stands at six matches, with Scotland keen to keep that going for as long as possible, even though their own World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine has been placed firmly on the backburner.

Momentum is an oft-discussed term in football, but McTominay feels that is because it is such a vital commodity.

“100-per-cent it is,” he said.

“That’s what football’s all about, keep on winning games. And we’ve been unbeaten for six now and that’s positive.

“Obviously that filters through the camp in terms of the manager and the way he’s conducted himself, the staff and the players.

“Everybody’s bought into everything Steve Clarke’s done since he came in as manager. Everyone’s enjoying it, it’s a happy camp to be in.

“Obviously, for myself, it’s always a bonus coming away and trying to help the team.”

That was an experience McTominay was denied back in November, when illness struck during a Scotland training camp prior to their final two fixtures of their World Cup qualifying group against Moldova and Denmark.

The watching brief is one he is not keen to repeat.

“That week in Spain I was in my hotel room,” he said. “For four or five days I was struggling with an illness which was quite bad to be fair.

“I couldn’t get out of bed. When I did manage to get home and was watching the games, I hated it. “Even if I miss one game of club football or for Scotland against Denmark, it’s hard to watch. You just want the game to be over and for us to have won.

“You just want to get back playing yourself as there’s nothing worse. You feel like you are in the wrong place sat at home watching when all the boys are at Hampden. It’s so good to be back.

“I’d a couple of family members in and we said that we were playing so, so well and that we just needed to maintain it throughout the second half. And we did. We kept it up, we kept the intensity. “The level we were playing at was really high. There weren’t many mistakes. Everyone was so tuned into what we had to do.”