THE fierce rivalry between the Pars and Falkirk may have taken Chris Mochrie by surprise but he that won’t be the case on international duty.

This week, the on-loan Dundee United midfielder linked up with the Scotland under-21 squad ahead of two friendly matches with Northern Ireland, which take place today (Thursday) and on Sunday.

Mochrie, whose Dunfermline manager, James McPake, said was the “best player on the pitch by a country mile” during the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw, will hope to win his first caps at that age group over the course of the fixtures, which will be played in Belfast and Paisley respectively.

The 19-year-old, who has been capped previously at under-16, under-17 and under-19 level, was surprised to receive the call by national under-21 head coach, Scot Gemmill, but feels it is an indication of his performances in black and white.

“I was delighted when I heard but I didn’t expect it,” he explained.

“I’d just been in the 19s and then that’s me too old for that now so I wasn’t really thinking about the 21s, I just came on loan here and have been playing.

“It’ll be a great experience for me, a couple of games with Northern Ireland, and it’s my first time being with the 21s. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy it.

“I had another one and I had to pull out of it (with injury) so hopefully I can stay the full time.

“It’s a recognition of your performances. It gives you that confidence that you’ve been playing well. Like I say, I hope I’ll just enjoy it.

“I’ve been up through the ages so I know what to expect. I’ve only spoken to Scot Gemmill a few times, so it’ll be my first time really meeting him, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Mochrie will hope to pull on the dark blue - he's started today's match, which kicked off at 2.30pm, on the bench - having played his part in keeping the Pars top of League One, and unbeaten, following the draw with the Bairns.

He could even have been celebrating a winner after ghosting past three opponents before shooting wide, which would have earned him hero status among the Athletic faithful, and he continued: “I knew there was something but I didn’t realise how much.

“I’d been hearing about it all week, and then today. Obviously, it was a good atmosphere to play in. It was probably my first real rivalry game.

“It was really end-to-end; it was really enjoyable. For us, it was probably a game of two halves.

“First half, I think they were the better team and had a couple of chances, but, second half, we reacted well, came from a goal down, and probably could’ve got more from the game.

“We switched from a three at the back to a four at the back, just to try and go man for man with them, and it seemed to work.

“We were landing on second balls more, they weren’t getting as much space, and I ended up having a bit more space to get on the ball.

“We had chances – we hit the bar, hit the post – so probably, at the end of the day, we’re thinking we could’ve got something more out of that game.”