Incoming Aberdeen defender Declan Gallagher has seen his career go from strength-to-strength – and he does not want it to stop.
Gallagher is in Scotland’s squad for the European Championships this month, featuring off the bench in the friendly draw against the Netherlands on Tuesday night.
He is due to join the Dons this summer from Motherwell and has also become a father for the second time.
“I pinch myself all the time, I am still pinching myself just now to be honest,” said Gallagher, 30. “This is a dream come true. Just playing for your country is a dream come true, but to be at a major finals is incredible.
“These things don’t happen that often and if I am honest I never saw it happening in my career.
“I was League One with Livingston, I was playing part-time for Stranraer and Clyde and the next thing you know I’m at a Euros. It’s amazing for me and it’s something I hold dear.
“They say things come in threes. I became a dad again, I’ve moved to a new club and now I’m in the Euros squad.
“I’m just delighted, words can’t describe how happy I am for myself and for my family, who take great joy in any success. My career has gone from strength to strength.”
The 2-2 draw with the Dutch in Faro during the week was a positive step for the Scots, with manager Steve Clarke wanting to give his side a test similar to what England and Croatia will pose.
Scotland face Luxembourg tomorrow in their final pre-tournament friendly, ahead of their opener against Czech Republic at Hampden Park on June 14.
“There is a good momentum being built,” Gallagher added. “There’s a good club atmosphere being built here, with us being such a close-knit group.
“The fact that the strength in depth is so good, with seven players left behind the other night, is a help.
“We’ve had two other players join up, one a Champions League winner and the other a Europa League finalist. That just shows you the quality we have.
“But, at the same time, we have to stay just quietly confident. Being the underdog works for Scotland, not getting too carried away.
“If we can stay under the radar and progress through the group stages, that would be massive for the country.”
Time away with Scotland will mean time away from his family, however. Gallagher and his wife Nikki have just had their second child, Ashton, giving their daughter Shay a baby brother.
“We had a wee boy, he’s only three months just now,” added Gallagher. “I’m FaceTiming as much as I can right now, because he’s changing every day. He’s a wee tubby thing at the minute!
“As I’ve said to my missus, I’m not going to start speaking to him until he can head and kick a ball! He needs to grow up quick.
“No, it’s been great, he’s got his wee Scotland top – I put a picture of that up on Twitter. So has my daughter.
— Nikki Gallagher (@nikkigallagherx) May 27, 2021
“My daughter and my wife were there for my debut. My wife’s mum and dad and my mum and dad were there, too.
“We’ve been given some tickets, I’m not sure how many, but the family will definitely be there for these games.
“It will be my son’s first game of football. Not that he’ll ever remember it – and he’ll probably fall asleep during it.
“But my daughter, my wife, my wee boy, my parents and her parents, it’s great have them there. “