THE sharp upward trajectory that Scott Bain’s career path has taken in the past 12 months has been nothing short of startling. He has gone from being frozen out at relegation-threatened Dundee to becoming the first choice goalkeeper at champions elect Celtic during that time. Now he appears poised to take another significant stride forward.

Alex McLeish was reluctant to say which one of the three keepers – Jordan Archer, Bain or Jon McLaughlin - he had chosen in his 27-man Scotland squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Kazakhstan and San Marino next week would take over from Allan McGregor at Hampden yesterday.

There are competitive fixtures before the national squad departs Glasgow for Astana on Sunday and it would have been unwise of him to single anyone out only for them to be ruled out of the double header through injury.

However, McLeish admitted that Bain, who has ousted Craig Gordon at Parkhead and performed consistently well both domestically and in the Europa League this year, was a strong contender to fill the vacant berth.

“I am not going to make any decisions right now,” said McLeish. “We have to wait and see how the players get on in their respective games coming up before we make any assessments.

“It was a while ago that I launched McGregor on his Rangers and Scotland career. Now there is a chance for another goalkeeper to have a career between the sticks with Scotland.

“Scott Bain is in a good position. He is in a good moment with Celtic. He is the No.1 choice in one of the top teams in Britain. He is going to make a really big challenge to guys who are a wee bit older than him and more experienced.”

The way that Bain coped with being pitched in against Russia 2018-bound Mexico in front of 70,000 home supporters during the summer showed McLeish that he can rely on the 27-year-old at international level.

“He was very composed,” he said. “He is obviously up there in terms of his intelligence. He is a modern goalkeeper, good with the ball at his feet. But one of our major concerns with a goalkeeper is ‘can he keep it out of the net?’ That is the thing for the guy who comes in next after McGregor.”

If Bain, who made his debut for his country in a friendly against Mexico in the Azteca Stadium last June, is given the nod to replace McGregor it will be the latest remarkable milestone in the journey of a man who worked as a building site labourer while he played part-time for Alloa.

McLeish compared him to Andy Robertson, the Liverpool left back and Scotland captain who was unemployed when he started out at Queen’s Park. “We talk about Andy getting discarded and showing that determination to get to where he is,” he said. “Scotty’s story is similar to that.”

McLeish stressed he had not considered Angus Gunn, the son of his former Aberdeen and Scotland team mate Bryan who joined Southampton for £13.5 million in the summer, because he intends to concentrate on forcing his way into the England set-up. “I have had dialogue with Bryan,” he said. “I’m not chasing it. My concentration is on these guys.”

One English-born player who was called up to the senior Scotland squad for the first time yesterday, though, was Liam Palmer, the Sheffield Wednesday defender who qualifies to play for the national because his grandmother hails from Carluke.

McLeish, who watched him in action in the Sheffield derby last week, feels Palmer, who has played for the Scotland Under-19 and Under-21 sides in the past, will add strength in depth in the right back spot.

“I spoke to a couple of managers who had come up against him and who I know in the game and they said he was a very decent player and someone we should assess,” he said. “He very athletic, a good height and it is great competition.”

Palmer’s club mate Barry Bannan has also been named in a Scotland squad for the first time since McLeish took over as manager in February last year.

“When I came in he had been out injured for quite a while,” he said. “Barry has been really consistent. He has a pretty good habit of never giving the ball away! At international level that is a must.

“John Fleck has been outstanding for Sheffield United over the last couple of years. Having made contact with the Sheffield United manager as well he is delighted that we have chosen John again.”

Injuries have ruled Steven Fletcher and Steven Naismith out of the squad while Leigh Griffiths is still on an extended break from the game.

Oliver Burke, the West Brom player who has done well during a loan spell at Celtic, has been called up for the first time since a friendly against Canada last year while Marc McNulty, the Reading player who has been on loan at Hibernian, will also be involved.

McLeish is confident both Callum McGregor of Celtic and Charlie Mulgrew of Blackburn Rovers, who had been injury doubts, will be able to feature.

“We thought Charlie wouldn’t make it,” he said. “Charlie always puts himself on the line and has declared he is going to be okay. Callum has been an ever present for us and Celtic and it’s very rare you see him being out the team with an injury. It’s something we will be careful about and monitor carefully.”