Hamilton highlights benefits to pair’s international experience

Glenavon's James Singleton (left) and Joel Cooper (right) with former Mourneview Park favourite Robbie McDaid - now at Leeds United - before kick-off on Saturday for Northern Ireland under 21s. Pics by Alan Weir.INLM37-101
Glenavon's James Singleton (left) and Joel Cooper (right) with former Mourneview Park favourite Robbie McDaid - now at Leeds United - before kick-off on Saturday for Northern Ireland under 21s. Pics by Alan Weir.INLM37-101
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Gary Hamilton considers the benefits of international selection for his young prospects extend far beyond matchday minutes on the pitch.

Northern Ireland under 21s’ EURO 2017 qualifying tie against Scotland at Mourneview Park on Saturday featured two Glenavon players in the panel.

James Singleton and Joel Cooper both featured as unused substitutes in Scotland’s 2-1 victory - with another Mourneview Park man, Rhys Marshall, forced to withdraw from the squad due to work commitments.

Despite the disappointment for the two players - plus Glenavon supporters keen to see club favourites on show at international level - manager Hamilton appreciates the value of the experience.

“It would of course have been great for everyone connected to Glenavon to see the guys out on the pitch but circumstances did not allow that to happen.

“Aside from that, it is a great learning experience for Joel and James to go up in training against players considered a higher standard based on connections to clubs across the water.

“I know from speaking to the under 21s’ manager, Jim Magilton, just how impressed he was and James was ready to go on only for Northern Ireland’s red card to force a tactical change.

“Rhys had to pull out due to work commitments, having recently started a new job.

“Jim understood the situation that Rhys could not give his full commitment across the duration of an international double-header at home and away to Iceland.”