Olympic spot for Canada still on Paton's mind after developing at Ross County
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Harry Paton still has a spot in the Canadian Olympic team on his mind if he can play well for Ross County.
The 22-year-old had been targeting a spot in the squad this summer, before the Tokyo games were postponed because of the pandemic.
He had been in line for a first senior call-up to the Canada squad before sport was cancelled, but he would still be eligible for the under-23 competition next summer.
Last season was Paton's breakthrough campaign for the Staggies' first team, making 24 appearances in all competitions, and after an impressive performance in Monday's opening day victory against Motherwell he wants to continue to catch the eye of his national coaches.
“I got the call-up in February which was exciting," Paton said.
"It was just a bit unfortunate with the timing.
“I’ve been in touch with the Olympic coach and when things get going again, hopefully I’ll get another chance to go and compete there.
“It’ll be a great experience if I get the chance. It will boost my career and help build my confidence.
"I’ve just got to keep playing and show I can play at that level.”
Paton showed signs of his development against Motherwell by playing in a more advanced role than he has been accustomed to – in the hole behind Billy Mckay rather than sitting deeper in midfield.
It seemed to suit his energetic game, as he was given the freedom to chase the ball while also drifting into space around the park.
He has paid tribute to his teammates though for allowing him to have the freedom to be an attacking threat.
“Getting into the box, scoring goals and creating chances is definitely a big part of my game," he explained.
“I really enjoy the role, especially with Iain Vigurs and Jordan Tillson creating a solid base behind me.
“I can express myself. I’m not always going to make the right pass, but having them in behind gives me the confidence to try those passes I might not be able to make further back on the pitch.
“The manager has been really great with me, on and off the pitch. I know I have loads to learn and out on the training pitch experienced boys like Iain Vigurs and Michael Gardyne always push me and give pointers as to what to bring to my game.
“With their help and the gaffer’s help, it gives me a clear picture of what I need to bring to my game so that I can, hopefully, some day reach that top level.”
County will be hoping that if Paton continues to develop, it can help the club's own progression up the Premiership table.
This afternoon sees the Staggies travel to Hamilton, in a match between two sides many pundits have tipped for a relegation battle this season.
Paton sees the club's situation differently, and he intends to use negative comments to spur the team on to good results.
“It motivates us to go out and prove them wrong, and we definitely showed that against Motherwell," Paton insisted.
“For me, personally, it is surprising how we’ve been written off because I know the players we have kept from last year and the new players coming in are top quality.
“It surprises me to hear that people think bad of us. I think they’re wrong and I think we’ll be pushing for a good spot this year and definitely higher than last year’s position.
“Our goals this season are to progress from last year and look to do much better than that.
“I feel we can score more goals and, defensively, we can be more solid and lower that goal ratio we had last year.
“I’ve found it a very enjoyable league – playing at the highest level in Scotland was a personal goal and is a big achievement for me, so I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. In football, you have ups and downs. Right now, my career is progressing really well and I’m very happy.
“I think I can cement my place in the first team, push more and go to a higher level, hopefully, and kick on."