Hamilton manager Martin Canning says signing former Rangers winger David Templeton after his long injury absence was a gamble that is now paying off.
The 28-year-old was named November’s Premiership player of the month, and Canning believes that if he maintains that form he can play for Scotland.
“[Signing Templeton] was a risk we felt was worth taking because we knew the qualities David had,” Canning said.
“But there is no doubt he has the ability to be an international.”
Canning was also named the Premiership manager of the month after guiding Accies to their first league win over Rangers at Ibrox since 1926 during November, as well as picking up a point apiece at home to Aberdeen and Hibernian.
After Saturday’s fiery draw with Hearts at Tynecastle, Accies sit eighth in the top flight, with 17 points from 16 games. They are unbeaten in their last six league outings.
Templeton scored against the Dons and Rangers, and provided the assist for Hamilton’s equaliser against Hibs.
“For Temps, right now his main task has to be making sure he stays fit and continues to work hard both on and off the pitch to ensure he stays at his best,” Canning said of the former Hearts and Rangers attacker, who won two caps for Scotland Under-21s.
“He also needs to maintain the focus that has got him into this form, because he will know more than anybody that these things can come and go and you find yourself back in a dark place quite quickly.
“Hopefully if he can do that, he can continue to kick on. If you look at his qualities, his feet are ridiculously quick, he makes good decisions on the ball, he’s a threat every time he gets it.”
‘Thankfully he’s starting to show us the rewards’
Templeton contemplated the end of his career owing to a knee injury which kept him out for almost two years and scuppered moves to Raith Rovers, Dundee United and Vancouver Whitecaps after he was released by Rangers in 2016.
“There was a point for David when he felt he might never play again, never mind be called the best player in the top league, so it’s fantastic for him to win this award,” Canning said.
“If you go back six months when he was looking for a club, there wasn’t too many prepared to give him the opportunity. But we’ve taken him in and allowed him to get fit. Thankfully for us he’s starting to show us the rewards.
“That’s two 90 minutes in a row he has played so he’s getting sharper by the week. There obviously was a risk for us when we signed him when you look at the fact he’d hardly played for two years.”