AROUND three years ago, pulling on his boots to hit the net at Pitreavie was the norm in Callum Smith’s fledgling football career.

So it’s little wonder that, after forcing his way into the Pars first team, winning a first-ever international call-up last week doesn’t, in his own words, “feel real yet” for the talented teen.

While the season is still in its infancy, it has already been a breakthrough campaign beyond 17-year-old’s Smith’s expectations, with selection for the Scotland under-19 squad the icing on the cake.

A former Cowdenbeath Primary and Beath High pupil, Smith joined Dunfermline at under-15 level before the Fife Elite Football Academy came into being.

After two years with Fife Elite, he signed a professional contract with the club in May last year before making his first-team debut as a sub against Inverness two months later, aged just 16.

But since coming off the bench to score against Elgin City in July, Smith has enjoyed a meteoric rise from those days playing at Pitreavie.

He was handed his first start at Hearts – providing an assist for Declan McManus – before firing home his first league goal in the 5-1 rout over Inverness.

A call to play for Scotland at the International Tournament in Serbia this week followed and Smith acknowledges he’s come a long way in a short space of time.

“It was obviously a shock because I’ve never been away with a Scotland squad at any age group, although because I’m in the first team I’ve started to get recognised,” he told Press Sport.

“I first got an email and then John Potter phoned to tell me, and then I saw everything on Twitter. It’s an amazing feeling, especially at this age and when you see players there who are all with big teams; there’s boys from Arsenal, Celtic and Rangers, so I’m just so chuffed.

“My family are so proud as well. They come to every game and I think my dad’s going to come to Serbia as well, so hopefully I’ll get a runout.

“I’ve been abroad once with Fife Elite but this will be a new experience.”

Looking back on his football journey so far, he reflected: “I came here late at the end of under-15s and, when Fife Elite happened, I was with the 17s squad for two years and I’ve been here after that.

“I started with Lochgelly Albert Colts when I was really young and then I went to the Blue Brazil. I trialled with a few teams when I was there but I’m happy I chose Dunfermline. It felt like the right team for me and I’m glad I stayed here because the gaffer has given me loads of chances (to play).

“I played Soccer 7s and was still playing at Pitreavie when I was 14-15, so this doesn’t feel real yet. I still feel like I’m dreaming a bit because it’s happened so quick.”

Smith, who signed a contract extension in April that keeps him at East End until the summer of 2019, has received rave reviews from his manager and continued: “It has been a great few weeks for me. I started against Hearts, which was a shock, then against Livingston, Inverness and Falkirk.

“In pre-season I worked hard to try and get in but I thought it would take time. At the end of last season, I hoped to go on loan to get first team experience but now I’m getting it here which was my aim since I came to the club.

“To be the age I am, 17, and be starting in the Championship I think is a brilliant achievement. I feel quite strong for my age and I think I fit in well with the first team; I get on with them and they’re all brilliant at giving me advice on how to play better.

“I’m in an environment that’s different and a wee bit of a change but I’ve tried to give the manager loads of choices. I don’t want to drop out of the team and hopefully I can keep banging in goals.”