MORTON striker Declan McManus was bursting with pride to receive his first Scotland Under-21 call up.

But the Aberdeen loanee also admitted there was one downside to being named in the national squad — missing today’s Petrofac Cup quarter-final against Alloa Athletic.

McManus is currently away on international duty with Billy Stark’s side, mixing with the likes of Stevie May, Ryan Gauld, Lewis Macleod, Ryan Fraser, John McGinn and Stuart Findlay.

The young Scots were held to a 1-1 draw in Slovakia on Thursday night, a match in which McManus was an unused sub, and face Luxembourg in Differdange on Monday. In the meantime, he is confident that his Ton team-mates have the ability to reach the semi-finals in his absence.

Speaking from his hotel room in Slovakia, he told the Tele: “This is my first call up for the Under-21s so I was delighted.

“I knew Billy [Stark] came to watch me in the Partick game, but I never really expected to get a call up.

“Luckily enough I did and I’m buzzing about it at the moment.

“I’ve been involved at 18s and 19s level but 21s is that bit more special because it’s one below the A squad.

“Most footballers would say that if you ask them.

“The call up must be based on my form at Morton.

“I’ve scored six goals in six games and been named in the Scotland Under-21 squad. It’s been brilliant so far, and I’ve got to keep doing it.

“I’m actually gutted I’m missing the game against Alloa. Obviously, it’s not for any negative reason; it’s a good reason.

“If there was any reason why I was missing a club game I would want it to be this.

“But I love being involved in the games, so I’m gutted I’m missing it. It was a hard game up at Forfar last week and disappointing to lose it.

“They don’t make it easy for you.

“We just need to pick ourselves up again and hopefully the lads win on Saturday and get into the semis.

“We played against Partick Thistle and never gave them an easy game.

“They were in the top six in the Premiership at the time, so I don’t think anyone coming to Cappielow will fancy it.

“I wouldn’t look at the teamsheet against Alloa and say either side is better than the other or that we are underdogs.

“I guarantee that the boys will be confident they can go out and go through to the semi-finals, and hopefully they do that.”