WITH his parents watching on in the stands at Hampden Park, Ross Stewart donned the dark blue of his home nation for the first time as he became a Scotland international on a ‘proud night’ for the Stewart family.

Sunderland striker Stewart has now etched himself into the history books and got his first cap for his country coming on in the closing stages of their 2-0 Nations League win over Armenia. It may well have only been a five minute appearance but it’s one that he will always remember.

“It felt very surreal” he said. “Obviously a really proud moment and delighted to get my debut. To do it in a game that has got importance on it and a game that we went on to win makes it even better so overall it’s just a really proud night.”

Stewart 26 goal haul this season for the Black Cats has earned him the opportunity to play for his country and may well earmark him as a potential striker to lead the line in the years to come.

Thanks to Tony Ralston and Scott McKenna’s first half goals, the result was ensured long before Stewart entered the fray. It could have been a chance for the 25-year-old to soak in everything around him and let the rest of the game pass by but that didn’t deter the tall striker, unsurprisingly, who wanted to come on and leave an impression on the game.

“I think you are just concentrating on the game really” he added. “To only get five or so minutes at the end, you do take it in a wee bit but it’s a game that you want to go on and try and make an impact in a short time. Even speaking about it now, it’s starting to sink in so I’m very proud.”

Regardless of whether he got on the scoresheet or not, with mum and dad in attendance, it made it a moment to savour for the Stewart family. “My parents were watching on so I’m sure we will talk a lot afterwards” Stewart said with a smile on his face. “It’s a proud moment for me but certainly a proud moment for them and I’m glad they could be here when I’ve been able to get my first minutes.”

While he now has his first cap under his belt, the challenge for Stewart now is to fully establish himself within the national set up. It’s the second time he has been called up to the Scotland squad but Steve Clarke elected not to play him back in March.

A Championship campaign awaits Stewart next season after Sunderland’s promotion to the second tier and making an impact there will only strengthen his case for further caps.

Stewart continued: “This is my second camp and both camps, I have really enjoyed. It’s an incredible experience to be in with the boys. It’s probably been in this camp that I have really started to settle.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously it’s great to finally come on and play minutes on the pitch because that’s what you want to do as a player and hopefully I can continue to do that.”

Stewart has more two more opportunities to enhance his international credentials when Scotland head to Republic of Ireland at the weekend and Armenia next Tuesday for their latest round of Nations League group matches.

Meanwhile, his contract situation at Sunderland is still to be discussed with the club’s hierarchy after Sporting Director Kritsjaan Speakman confirmed they would hold talks about extending his current deal. As things stands, Stewart’s deal is due to run out next summer.