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Scotland coach Steven Reid talks up Chelsea Billy Gilmour after late Euros call-up mirrors his own World Cup experience

Billy Gilmour is in the Scotland squad for Euro 2020.
Billy Gilmour is in the Scotland squad for Euro 2020.

Steven Reid knows all about making a late burst into a tournament squad and sees no reason why Billy Gilmour cannot do the same for Scotland.

Gilmour was a late pick for the national team, being drafted in to Steve Clarke’s 26-man tournament squad having not previously been called up.

The Chelsea midfielder is viewed as one of the nation’s brightest prospects and looks to have a big Scotland future ahead of him.

However Reid, who was a standby for the Republic of Ireland squad for the 2002 World Cup before being drafted in, says Gilmour cannot be ruled out.

“There’s no reason why not,” said Reid. “Obviously he is here on merit. I go back to when I went to the World Cup in 2002. I was on the stand-by list for the Republic, originally.

Scotland coach Steven Reid.
Scotland coach Steven Reid.

“So I was a late entry to the group. But I was the first sub to come off the bench in the very first game against Cameroon.

“So you never know. We’ve obviously had a couple of injuries in that position, as well, with Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean.

“It’s disappointing for them but sometimes these things happen, an opportunity opens up for someone else.

“We’ll see how the camp goes, see how the friendly games go, and who knows?  He’s there on merit and everyone has a chance of being involved.”

Gilmour has the small matter of a Champions League final to attend to on Saturday evening, with Chelsea taking on Manchester City in Portugal.

“It would be amazing to have another Champions League winner joining the squad,” added Reid. “I remember it with Andy (Robertson) when Liverpool had their Champions League success and even their league success.

“It does bring a real buzz to the squad. Players are obviously proud of the individuals who get to finals like that and pick up silverware.

Scotland national team coaches John Carver, Steve Clarke, Stevie Woods and Steven Reid.
Scotland national team coaches John Carver, Steve Clarke, Stevie Woods and Steven Reid.

“When you’re winning in these elite competitions, that can only drive standards in the whole camp, raise everyone’s games. So it would be fantastic if Billy could become a Champions League winner.

“It’s obviously disappointing for Scott (McTominay) that he ended up on the wrong side of penalties with United the other night. But it’s great to have players performing in these huge games for top clubs.

“I think at the moment he’s going from strength to strength. As time goes on he looks like one of the first names on the teamsheet in that starting 11, not only holding his own but standing out at a really high level.

“Watching him over the last couple of years in the squads I’ve been involved in, he has all the attributes you need in the modern game. The athleticism, the pace, the power, the ability to drive forward, he can play in a variety of different positions, and again in these sort of situations and tournament football that’s a useful thing to have players who can play in a few different positions.”

Scott McTominay in action for Scotland.
Scott McTominay in action for Scotland.

The success of those at club level has helped foster a real team environment within the Scotland camp, which is in Alicante ahead of friendlies against Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Reid has seen how camps can be disrupted, with the infamous Roy Keane incident in Saipan 19 years ago, but feels this Scotland squad is geared up for success.

“Yeah but at the same time you could argue it brought a togetherness to the squad in a way,” he said. “It gave someone else an opportunity to play in that midfield position. We got out of the group and got knocked out on penalties to Spain. We arguably could have gone a lot further in the competition because we were the better team against Spain.

“The key thing is not just turning up, happy to make the tournament, now it’s about progressing out of the group and making a bit of history and you just never know. You never know. You’ve seen in a lot of the European Championships the underdogs going all the way and getting into the latter stages of the competition.

“With the ability we’ve got and the quality we’ve got in the group, with the feeling of the group that’s developed over the last couple of years and bringing in a bit more of a club feel to the international stage there’s no reason why we can’t go and make a little bit of history and that’s the message that has been driven in, certainly this morning from the gaffer.”

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