'Next big thing' - Hibs' Porteous touted as future Scotland captain after Ukraine display

'Next big thing' - Hibs' Porteous touted as future Scotland captain after Ukraine display
'Next big thing' - Hibs' Porteous touted as future Scotland captain after Ukraine display

RYAN PORTEOUS has been touted as a future Scotland captain after his standout debut against Ukraine.

The Hibs defender was handed his big chance for the national team in the crucial Nations League closer in Poland and excelled at the heart of the defence.

The performance was no surprise to Porteous' former team-mate Joe Mbu who played alongside the defender at Edinburgh City - now FC Edinburgh.

Mbu helped guide a 17-year-old Porteous through his first season of first-team football.

And he was full of pride as Porteous starred in the 0-0 draw with Ukraine to see Scotland top the Nations League group and gain promotion to the 'A' leagues.

Mbu even revealed his opinion that Porteous could go on to become Scotland captain and reach the highest level in club football.

He told the Daily Record: “I’ve got some really close mates who are Hibs fans and long before now, I’ve been telling them that he’s the future of Scottish football and a possible Scotland captain in years to come.

“I don’t think there’s much that can stop him getting to the highest level.

"The calm head needs to come in at times and not get so wound up.

"You can be a pantomime villain in football sometimes but when he just plays his game and keeps his head, then the world is his oyster. He can play where he wants.”

Porteous came into the Scotland side after Scott McKenna was forced to withdraw from international duty with an injury knock.

Aaron Hickey and Greg Taylor were also in from the start - as well as Jack Hendry - in a changed backline after injuries to Andy Robertson, Nathan Patterson, Kieran Tieney and McKenna.

But Steve Clarke's rejigged rearguard performed admirably to earn the vital point in Krakow.

Now, Mbu reckons Porteous has staked his claim to become a regular starter for Scotland as he tipped the centre-back to be the next big thing to come out of Scotland.

He added: "For me, he’ll be the next big thing to come out of Scotland and everyone recognised that with his performance the other night.

"When you look at the guys who have been playing in front of him for Scotland, he’s not far away. There’s some I think he could easily play ahead of.

“Grant Hanley’s played at the highest level and Porto’s not far away from him. He’s got more pace about him and his recovery tackles are slightly better.

"He could play at any level, but it depends on who’s going to give him the opportunity.”