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Jon McLaughlin was unemployed when making Scotland debut

The 30-year-old is out of contract at Hearts.

Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin revealed he was club-less when he made his Scotland debut against Mexico on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old’s contract with Hearts ended on May 31 and he has never made a secret of keeping his options open, including signing a new deal at Tynecastle.

The Edinburgh-born former Bradford and Burton player, who joined the Jambos last summer, was called into Alex McLeish’s squad for the post-season double-header in the Americas.

And after sitting on the bench for the 2-0 defeat by Peru in Lima on Tuesday night, he played
a solid first half of the 1-0 defeat by World Cup-bound Mexico at the Azteca Stadium before being replaced at the interval by another debutant, Scott Bain of Celtic.

“At the moment I am an unemployed Scotland player so that might be a first as well, I don’t know,” McLaughlin told Press Association Sport.

“My contract was up on the 31st of May so I was unattached.

“I certainly still like to think I was a Hearts player and I was representing them as well.

“They have done so much for me this season and I owe them a massive amount.

“The gaffer Craig Levein, goalkeeper Gal (Paul Gallacher), everyone has been fantastic for me.

“I still felt as though I was representing them as well but technically I am an unemployed footballer.

“Hopefully the phone will be ringing when I get home. It is all up in the air, we have to wait and see.

“Hopefully we can use this as a good advertisement for what I can do for clubs out there and fingers crossed, something good comes out of it.”

After having a less than glamorous career to date, McLaughlin admitted to a “surreal” experience of playing in the Azteca Stadium packed with 70,000-plus excited Mexicans.

“For someone who has not been blooded through the Premier League or the higher echelons of football, to be standing there singing the national anthem and looking at the surroundings, the sheer size of
a packed house, it was very surreal,” he said.

“To play for your country is a huge achievement and I am very proud for me and my family.

“To get that first cap at the age of 30 in surroundings like that was an amazing feeling.

“Hopefully it gives a little bit of hope to some of the other guys out there.

“It has been a great year, going to Scotland and finally get to play there, where I was born, I have had a brilliant time and getting a chance to play for the national team was an incredible feeling.

“It has been a long road up to this point. But it just shows you that if you keep plugging away and keep doing the business at your clubs you never know what happens and thankfully the gaffer saw enough to have that faith in me.”

Having tasted international football, McLaughlin, acknowledging the potential longevity of goalkeepers, is determined not to become a one-cap wonder.

He said: “Hopefully it is only maybe the halfway point in my career and this can keep that love for the game going.

“That is what you dream of, playing in front of crowds like that, in situations like that. It has given me a massive boost.”


From Belfast Telegraph