Clydebank winger Phil Johnston was called up to the Junior Scotland squad this week, and no-one was more surprised than himself.

The 26-year-old found out about his call-up to Keith Burgess’ 20-man squad for the upcoming Quadrangular Tournament, and didn’t even know the tournament existed before finding out about his call-up on Monday.

This year’s competition will be held in Scotland, with Ireland, Isle of Man and Wales playing in a round-robin tournament.

He said: “I didn’t even know there was a Junior Scotland team to be honest, I’ve never been involved in the Scotland set-up before so it’ll be good.

“I’ve not heard anything yet, so I’ll have to wait and see what the script is as I really don’t have a clue.

“I saw it on Twitter. Kieran phoned me and one of the boys had put it into our group chat. They tweeted the full team and I went on and checked it.”

And what makes it even more surprising for the winger was that he considering chucking football altogether several months ago, after falling out of love with the game.

Johnston had spells with Stirling Albion and Clyde, where both sides were tipped for big things during pre-season, but fell well below expectations.

Coming home feeling miserable after matches made him grow to dislike the sport, and the winger was planning to have a break from the game.

He added: “I hated it. I fell out of love with football.

“I got promoted with Stirling Albion three or four seasons ago. Straight away we got relegated, and then for the two seasons after that we failed to make the play-offs with a really good squad.

“The last three seasons in senior football were a disaster for the squads we had.

“On paper we should have been challenging for the league but we’re not even making the play-offs. It’s difficult to get your head round and it takes it’s toll mentally on you.”

“I didn’t enjoy going to training. It was nothing to do with who I was playing with or didn’t enjoy the actual training that was getting put on, the sessions.

“I just found it difficult to enjoy it.

“Results obviously don’t help when you’re getting beat every week but you knuckle down and work hard.

“But I just didn’t enjoy it at all. I just needed a little bit of time to clear my head.”

That was until Bankies manager and friend Kieran McAnespie gave him a call, asking to see if he fancied giving junior football a try.

Having grown up playing for Celtic and Hibs as a kid, it was a step into the unknown for Johnston, having never played junior football before.

But it’s a risk the winger is glad he’s taken.

He said: “Kiery is one of my good mates and he was on the phone and said to me why don’t you just come in and train, play a couple of games, see if you enjoy it and it’ll keep you ticking over.

“The standard is good, it’s enjoyable so I thought why not.

“Hopefully I’ll try and get the love back a bit for my football and I’ve loved it so far.”

A big part of the enjoyment is down to the Bankies squad, and reminds him of a time when football was far more enjoyable for himself.

He said: “Kieran was great, we got on really well [at Stirling Albion]. That was a great dressing room, Ross Forsyth was there as well, and it was brilliant.

“It reminds me of the dressing room we have just now to be honest.

“It’s tight-knit and it’s great. That’s half the battle - you enjoy the training and catching up with the guys and having a bit of banter.

“If you trust each other then that mirrors on the pitch as well and you’ll dig in for each other.”