MX23RW : Wednesday, December 2 13:25:10| >> :120:74567:74567:

Paul Hanlon delighted to finally earn first Scotland cap

The 30-year-old featured in the Nations League victory over the Czech Republic.

Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon was delighted to realise a long-held ambition to play for Scotland but is hungry for more caps.

Hanlon played 10 times for Scotland Under-19s and won 23 caps for the Under-21s but had to wait until the age of 30 to make his full international debut in Wednesday's Nations League victory over the Czech Republic.

Hanlon, who came off the bench in an unfamiliar wing-back role, said: "I'm absolutely over the moon to get the cap. I have worked hard for a long time hoping that would happen.

"Especially when I was younger I played a lot of games for the 19s and 21s and had been in the squad for the first team before and not managed to get that cap. So to finally get one was great and something I will always be proud of.

"I didn't expect it to be in a wing-back role but I was delighted to get on the pitch all the same.

"It was great to be involved and get the call. I'm happy to have played a part in the success we had over the camp.

"Obviously I missed a lot of preparations and by the time I joined the squad it was a lot of recovery-based stuff so I never got a lot of time on the pitch with the players.

"But I was happy to be there, happy to be called upon and happy to contribute to a great win."

Hanlon joined fellow Hibs defenders Ryan Porteous and Paul McGinn in the squad and he knows that would not have been possible had it not been for their improved defensive record this season.

Hibs have kept four clean sheets in 10 league games ahead of Saturday's trip to face Ross County in Dingwall.

"I think that's definitely why," he said. "We have put in a good start to the season and got ourselves in a good position in the league, and that's what gets you recognised.

"For the three of us now it's about going back to the league form, trying to keep that going and hopefully we will get more recognition in the future.

"It was something we didn't do as well last season and we wanted to improve but we are under no illusions, it takes a lot of work to do it and we have to keep doing it week in, week out."

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Stephen 'Stevie' Mallan in action for Hibernian in April 2019
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