A CAREER in diplomacy awaits Greg Docherty if football doesn’t work out for him. The Hamilton Academical midfielder tiptoed adroitly around the issue of his international future yesterday, with the Republic of Ireland said to be waiting in the wings if Scotland elect not to keep him in the fold.

Docherty has played twice for the Scotland under-21s but was a surprise omission this time around when Scot Gemmill named his squad for Tuesday night’s match against the Dutch.

This has piqued Irish interest, for whom the 20 year-old is eligible via his grandparents, and Docherty did not rule out making a switch similar to James McCarthy, another one-time Accies midfielder, a decade or so ago. Progressing his career with Scotland, however, remains his priority.

“I always knew I was eligible for Ireland but this morning was the first I’d heard of their interest, ” he said at the launch of this season’s Topps SPFL Match Attax cards.

“I wasn’t in at the club today so I’ve not spoken to the manager about it. I’m sure I’ll find out more in due course. I’ve represented Scotland before and was a bit disappointed at not being involved in the game just there.

“My goal is to try to work hard and get back in the squad for the games next month. With the Ireland thing I’d need to have a think about it and sit down with my family to discuss it. It would be a massive decision for me.

“But if they’d asked me to represent them that would be a massive thing. I grew up a Scotland fan but I always knew the Irish thing was there too.

“My gran and grandad were both born and brought up there and then they moved over here in their early 20s and have been here ever since.

“So I always knew that connection was there. It’s nice to nice if you’re attracting interest at international level. That’s flattering.

“So I’ve always kept an eye on their results too. Scotland would be my preference just now but if it came to it I would have no qualms about switching over.

“If it helps develop your career that’s an option you have to consider. Everyone wants to play international football, play on the big stage and get to major tournaments. If that came around then I’d relish that.”

Docherty admitted he has appreciated the reaction to his omission from this week’s squad.

“When it came around and I wasn’t in, you just have to get on with it,” he added. “Everyone has different opinions.

“But I got a nice reaction from the media and people around me saying they were a bit surprised I wasn’t in.

“And that’s nice for me to hear, of course. I just have to take the positives from that. I’ve got a massive game on Friday and that’s been in my head the last few weeks anyway.”

That massive game is the visit of Celtic to the SuperSeal Stadium where Hamilton will look to land a first home win over the Parkhead side since 1989.

“Obviously our ground is a difficult place to come and hopefully we can make it more of a fortress,” added Docherty. “Last year we let a few results slip through our hands and that was well documented. But we’ve started the season well and the mood in the camp is high.

“But Celtic are Celtic. They’re on this long unbeaten run because they’re a very good team. They’re very difficult to beat so we’re just going to have to break them down the best we can and take our chances when they come.

“It’s a good stage for me to show what I can do. It’s a game on TV and you want to showcase what you can do. Everyone will be up for it.”