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Unlikely BBC TV star Owain Fon Williams on the inspiration Scotland can draw from Wales after ‘breaking the barrier’ of Euro 2020 qualification

Williams winning his sole cap for Wales

You could forgive Owain Fon Williams for being a little distracted on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, as the consummate professional, his prime concern will be Dunfermline’s pre-season friendly against Civil Service Strollers.

However, over in Amsterdam there is a game of some consequence for the big goalkeeper. Fon Williams, after all, still has some vested interested in Euro 2020. Lucky for some.

Fon Williams during Euro 2016 training

Wales take on Denmark in the last-16 of the competition and, having narrowly missed out on the squad for the continental showpiece, the former Caley Thistle goalkeeper has become a rather tense viewer as his pals look to replicate the glory run to the semis in 2016.

“It’s about the same level of nerves, if I’m honest,” he said.

“However, I’m doing a little bit of media work during the tournament, so it’s nice to be on that side of the fence and get a different perspective on the tournament.”

A ‘little bit of media work’ is typically modest.

A gifted artist, a video package centred around Fon Williams’ portrait of the 2016 squad was at the heart of the BBC’s coverage for Wales’ opening game against Switzerland.

‘Forever stronger together’ by Fon Williams

“I can’t thank the people who support me enough,” he continued. “I have been shown so much generosity and positivity for something which is not a stereotypical footballer thing to do.

“In this day and age, I think you need something at times to keep your mind right.

“I found my little world that works for me and I enjoy it. Personally, I think more footballers should be looking at more things away from football to keep them occupied. That helps make sure the mind does not get drifted away.”

While his painting for the BBC depicted past glories, he hopes more unforgettable memories are on the horizon.

“Of course, I’d rather be on the same side of the fence as I was five years ago,” he continues, having been a part of that group which reached the semis in 2016, losing out to Portugal.

“But it’s fantastic to see the lads go from strength to strength at a tournament — albeit it will be a very difficult game against Denmark.

“It feels like both teams have improved as the tournament has gone on and really stepped up for the pressure games; Wales against Turkey, and Denmark against Russia.

“So, it’ll be a really tough one to call and I’m sure the tension will kick in come Saturday.”

While Fon Williams is as proud a Welshman as you could meet, six years playing north of the border have afforded him a soft spot for Scotland — and he has words of solace for us envious onlookers.

While Steve Clarke’s charges may have failed to match Wales’ stunning run to the last four in 2016, he believes they smashed the exact same hoodoo as the Dragons did by even qualifying.

Williams is back in training with Dunfermline

Building on that must be the order of the day, he contends.

“There’s a belief in the Wales side now,” added Fon Williams. “It was such a big deal to reach Euro 2016. I was in a squad that had to break barriers because we had failed for so long; so many years; so much hurt.

“That wait to get to a tournament hung over everyone, so I knew exactly what it meant to the country to just get there, and what it took for the players to achieve that.

Heartbreak: Scotland

“Likewise, I know how Scotland must have felt when they qualified for these European Championships. Now, like Wales, they have to make it happen again. Use that experience, take the positives and get back on that stage again.

“Scotland have some great players and did really well. They were just unlucky and, in a game of goals, they missed some chances and the opposition had some moments of brilliance.”

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