Declan Gallagher admits he left Scotland’s Euro 2020 camp with a tinge of disappointment after not featuring at the tournament.
Gallagher was an unused member of Steve Clarke’s squad at the Euros, as Scotland exited at the group stage.
New Aberdeen signing Gallagher had played a key part in qualifying Scotland for the tournament, excelling in the play-off win over Serbia.
However, Norwich City defender Grant Hanley and Leeds’ Liam Cooper both earned starting berths, with Hanley impressing in the draw with England at Wembley.
When Hanley limped off in the final game against Croatia, it was ex-Don Scott McKenna who Clarke turned to off the bench. There was also Kieran Tierney and Jack Hendry to factor in.
“It was obviously a good experience and one that I’ll treasure forever, being part of that 26-man squad for the first time in 23 years,” said Gallagher. “But for me personally, it was a bit disappointing because I never got any game time when I was over there.
“My record with Scotland isn’t bad but, at the end of the day, that’s international football. There’s quality players everywhere and there were players who play in the English Premier League who I was up against. It’s just one of those things, but to be part of that group of boys was an unbelievable experience and one I’ll treasure forever.”
Gallagher said there were no conversations with Clarke about his lack of game-time and he appreciates the quality of player he was up against.
“I don’t really think he had too much to say on the matter,” added the defender. “There are a lot of great players there playing well for their team. It’s obviously hard for the manager. I was there trying to give him a headache but, at the end of the day, he went with what he did and I respect his decisions.
“When you look at the backline, you had a guy who was playing for Arsenal, a guy who was captain of Norwich, captain of Leeds and someone who won player of the year in Belgium. The standard was really high.
“It just makes me hungrier to get into the squads. It’s always disappointing when you don’t come on, but you’ve got Scott McKenna there who came on and did well. He’s at Nottingham Forest just now and doing well down there.
“It’s obviously personally disappointing for me not getting on, but you have to be ready for your chance. I might not have played at the Euros, but there’s the World Cup qualifiers in September and I’m going to have to play well here to be in that squad.”
One positive from the tournament for Gallagher was seeing fans back in the stands. Scotland played in front of two crowds at Hampden, while other stadia across the competition saw increased capacities.
Aberdeen have applied for more than 5,000 fans to be allowed to attend their Europa Conference League tie against BK Hacken, which is due to take place at Pittodrie next Thursday.
The Dons had initially applied for more than 8,000 supporters, but have been engaged in positive talks with Aberdeen City Council.
“Seeing the fans being back at Euros and at Wembley, fans mean everything in football,” added Gallagher. “It is a spectator sport and when fans are not there it just isn’t the same.
“The club have been working hard to try and make something happen with the fans. We want the fans back as quick as possible, but that is down to people higher up than me deciding.
“I know the club are working hard to try to get fans back as quick as possible.”