International trio can bring feelgood factor to Portsmouth after stuttered start to season

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It’s back to business for Pompey's international trio. 

After a period with their respective nations, Ronan Curtis, Craig MacGillivray and Ross McCrorie all head back to Fratton Park to resume usual service.

And it’s crucial the Blues cash in on the feelgood factor they’ll bring with them when they do return.

All three should be buoyed by their experiences and now ready to continue that momentum to ensure Pompey overcome their stuttered start to the League One campaign. 

Curtis was handed a maiden Republic of Ireland start against Bulgaria in Dublin.

The winger grew into the friendly and proved one of Eire’s chief attacking threats.

He was at the heart of the opening goal, with his long-range effort parried by the keeper, leaving Alan Browne tapping in from close range.

This season, Curtis has yet to display the sort of form which earned him his senior Ireland breakthrough.

But with a potential berth in Ireland’s squad for next year's Euros up for grabs, his outing against Bulgaria could prove the catalyst to delivering the sort of performances he’s undoubtedly capable of. 

MacGillivray was denied his international bow and had to watch Scotland’s defeats to Russia and Belgium from the substitutes’ bench during his maiden call-up. 

They’d have made for difficult scenes as Steve Clarke’s side’s Euros hopes were dealt a hammer blow.

Ever the pragmatist, though, MacGillivray would have reflected on the overall picture and took the positives. 

Five years ago, he was still in non-league football. Two years ago, he’d still to establish himself as a first-choice Football League stopper.

Now he comes back to PO4 having rubbed shoulders with a Champions League winner in Andy Robertson and been within touching distance of Belgium’s superstars like Kevin De Bruyne and counterpart Thibaut Courtois.

MacGillivray should use it as inspiration to continue his hurtling progress and even an aperitif of what might be to come in the future. 

McCrorie, meanwhile, helped bolster Scotland under-21s’ aspirations of reaching the Euros 2021.

He skippered them to qualifying victories over San Marino and Group D top-seeds Croatia, assisting Connor McLennan’s match-winner. 

After a mixed opening at Pompey, the Rangers loanee must come back believing he can produce similar contributions during the promotion push. 

Given what he shown in pre-season and at QPR, he’s got the quality to establish himself as a midfield force in League One.