Lyndon Dykes has spoken of his “scary” battle with pneumonia which left him hospitalised and struggling to breathe.
The QPR striker had to come off in a match against Swansea in January due to illness and, despite returning to training, he eventually had to seek medical help and spent eight concerned days in a hospital bed.
The 27-year-old former Livingston forward recuperated and returned to action against Watford earlier this month and, after three appearances for his club, he joined up with Steve Clarke’s squad this week for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain at Hampden Park.
“Walking into a critical illness wasn’t very nice. It went from zero to 100 pretty quick. It was concerning.
“My breathing was heavy, you could see my chest move quite a lot and it was quite hard to get my breaths out.
“It is not a nice feeling. I didn’t have any energy and couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t do much.
“I was on antibiotics and medication that week, but it didn’t touch it.
“I needed a CT scan and that’s when I knew there was pneumonia in my lungs and by that time I was struggling to breathe and it was hard to move around.
“I was in hospital for eight days and it was quite tough. I wish no one to be in that situation.
Dykes has scored eight goals in 26 appearances for Scotland but admits football became of no importance to him during his spell in hospital.
He said: “It opens your eyes a bit. You think about your health.
“The days when I was in hospital and the medicine I was on wasn’t working the way they wanted it to, there was no thought about football at that time, it was about myself and my wife and kids.
“After I started to feel better I could think about that (football) again, but at the end of the day it comes down to health and making sure you are 100 per cent.
“It was quite emotional in my first game back against Watford.
“I was quite nervous and anxious to see how I felt playing a game, but I was happy with what I did. It was nice to be back on the pitch.”
After the frustration of missing out on the Qatar World Cup at the end of last year, Dykes is determined to help Scotland get to Germany in 2024.
He said: “It was tough watching the World Cup. After us going to the 2020 Euros and being involved in that, everything that we are not involved in is going to hurt.
“We all want to play in major tournaments. We have to keep building together to make sure when these opportunities come up, we don’t miss out.
“The last thing we want to do is sit at home watching the games on television thinking we should be there, so we need to make sure we are focused and ready.
“After what I went through, I was looking forward to come away with Scotland. The feeling around the camp is amazing.
“You can feel the energy that we have built and that has been a major thing.”