Scot Gemmill backs Scotland’s young stars to shine in European Championship

Scot Gemmill believes Scotland’s Euro 2020 new boys will inspire players and coaches all the way down the game’s development ladder.

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour, Rangers right-back Nathan Patterson and Celtic playmaker David Turnbull were included in Steve Clarke’s 26-man squad for the first time for the delayed European Championship which starts next month.

All three have come through the age groups with Scotland with Gilmour and Patterson, both 19, also part of the Scottish Football Association’s performance schools programme.

Scotland Under-21 head coach Gemmill, who has named a new-look squad for a friendly double header against Northern Ireland next month, was asked if they could be an inspiration.

Billy Gilmour has impressed for Chelsea this season
Billy Gilmour has impressed for Chelsea this season (Adam Davy/PA)

He said: “Yes, no doubt, not just to the Under-21 group, to all the age groups all the way down, the performance schools as well.

“The fact that they have been referenced in the development of these players – there is so much good work going on.

“The coaches at that level don’t get the credit they deserve but they are the ones that have really helped these players get in this position, working with them day in, day out.

“It is a very nice moment for the staff to point to that process and that pathway.

“Brian (McLaughlin) runs the performance schools and I know he is incredibly proud of his staff and the role that they have played and rightly so.

“It is really exciting and it shows all the players involved that it can happen and how close they are. So it is really exciting.

Nathan Patterson has done enough to earn a spot in Scotland's squad
Nathan Patterson has done enough to earn a spot in Scotland’s squad (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“People have asked: ‘Where are the young players?’ They are there and myself and my staff have said that consistently in the last few years.

“The Under-17s qualified for four finals in a row, you don’t do that by chance. You do that by having good players.

“There are good players, they just need opportunities to play and they are stepping up with their performances.”

Scotland’s European Championship group stage campaign sees them take on Czech Republic and Croatia at Hampden Park with a trip to play England at Wembley in between.

Gemmill is intrigued as to the part the three new call-ups will play and insists the “million dollar question” is whether they can step straight in.

He said: “It is obviously Steve’s decision and his staff but they are there because of their performances.

David Turnbull has enjoyed a fine season with Celtic
David Turnbull has enjoyed a fine season with Celtic (Jane Barlow/PA)

“They have influenced games at the very highest level and Billy and Nathan are still eligible to play for the Under-21s in these up and coming games.

“David is actually too old now but it is the strength of the their seasons that has put them there so it is really exciting to see.

“I think it is just about opportunity. They have put themselves in a position where they can be part of history and such a big sporting occasion, it is going to be really interesting to see what happens.

“Steve has obviously put them in there because he feels that they can be part of it.

“Obviously there is a big balance between getting the squad selection correct, getting the team selection correct and we all trust Steve, he has shown he is very good at that. He has got us into this position.”