Billy Gilmour has lived the week of his dreams, for both club and country.
From winning the Champions League with Chelsea in Porto, to returning to Portugal and making his Scotland debut, Gilmour is on a ride he does not want to get off.
A late inclusion in the Euros squad – a surprise to some – was reward for Gilmour’s performances in some big games towards the end of the season for Chelsea.
At 19, he has had a lot thrust upon him from an early age but still has to pinch himself after making his international bow against the Netherlands.
“I was just so proud,” Gilmour told the Scottish FA YouTube channel. “My family were so proud for me because I was achieving one of my dreams.
“I’ve never trained with the first-team before. The gaffer just said I’d be on the bench and maybe get some minutes.
Scotland senior debut! An unbelievably proud moment for me and my family 💙🏴 pic.twitter.com/bhSVQLy8PL
— Billy Gilmour (@billygilmourrr) June 2, 2021
“I was ready for whenever called upon but it was a nice feeling to go make my debut.
“Since going to the Performance School, that was my main aim. Now I’ve done it I’m so proud.
“What a week it’s been. I made my debut for my country and winning one of the biggest trophies in the world. It was an amazing experience. My family came over to that as well and I got to get them on the pitch. We got some photos with my trophy.”
In making his debut, Gilmour became the first graduate of the Scottish FA’s Performance Schools programme to make his international bow.
“The programme has been massive for me,” he added. “The coaches, like James Grady, Andy Goldie, Brian McLaughlin, have all seen my develop through the ages.
“With the Performance School I think you get a better chance, because you’re working with the Scotland coaches. After my debut I sent them a text.
“There were in touch straight away saying congratulations. They’ve played a massive part for me to get here.
“All the coaches I’ve had have said work hard. Focus on what you want to get better at; at Performance Schools it’s always working on you, on your weaknesses and making your strengths stronger.”
It has been a journey the Gilmour family have been on together, with his father Billy senior still joking he is the superior footballer in the family.
His younger brother Harvey is in the youth system at Kilmarnock and is following a similar path to Gilmour. One of his most cherished memories is getting photos on the pitch with his family after Chelsea beat Man City.
“They’ve stuck by what I’ve wanted to do and total confidence to make me go fulfil my dream,” he said. “For them to be on the pitch with me was a happy moment.
“I don’t know if he’ll say I’m the better player – he’ll say I didn’t play in the final, so that’s the next step.
“He was so proud of me. He was saying he never thought at 19 years old I’d win the Champions League and get a call-up for my country.
“They keep me grounded; they don’t treat me any different at all. When I get chance to go home I’ll still be doing the dishes and my mum will be on at me for putting clothes away and tidying my room.”