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Is 2019 The Year To Give Billy Gilmour His First Scotland Call-up?

Date: 18th October 2018


When I first started thinking about this article, everything was looking rosy for Scotland as they started the Nations League with a victory over Albania. 

Unfortunately in the last week we’ve lost to Israel and things look bleak again, although we cling on to hope that our men’s team can still reach their first major international tournament since 1998. 

In seventeen year old midfielder Billy Gilmour we could have a real talent on our hands. 

The youngster took an ambitious, big step when he left Rangers for Chelsea in 2017. 

Now people doubt Chelsea’s youth set-up but they do have a history of creating exciting talent, just not necessarily for their own first team. 

Others will point to Islam Feruz, who like Billy left Glasgow in his mid-teens for the bright lights of London, as it didn’t work out for him at Stamford Bridge. But to be honest, the two are completely different people. Feruz seems to have had plenty of opportunities and he hasn’t made the most out of them. 

After a bright start at Chelsea, Feruz received a call-up for the Scottish under-21s and he did reasonably well. Unfortunately he went out on various loan spells and he didn’t impress at any of the five clubs, talk of a bad attitude have since followed the forward around. 

Gilmour has been shining for Chelsea’s developmental side and his attitude has never been questioned. He bagged a hat-trick in his side’s UEFA Youth League match against Molde this season and he also scored a very nice goal in his debut campaign against the Arsenal youth team. 

Billy has stated recently that he wants to become a top footballing star: 

“If someone is better than me, I want to be better than them. I’ve always had a winning mentality and I hate losing, so when I see someone doing better, I need to match them.”

His performances for Chelsea have propelled him into the Scotland under-21 side and he’s done remarkably well in that age group, becoming the U21s youngest ever goalscorer. Gilmour was extremely impressive at the Toulon Tournament during the summer, where he was named the ‘Revelation of the Tournament’. 

The youngster is a gifted passer and possesses great vision. The midfielder is also very comfortable in possession and likes to keep the ball moving with some very neat passing. 

Billy’s sublime cross against Andorra’s under-21s that set-up Fraser Hornby’s second goal, showed just how superb he can be with his creative talent. 

I think 2019 could be the year to promote Billy Gilmour up to the senior side. 

It doesn’t have to be straight away, we could wait for the right friendly and even then we don’t need to play him. 

Fellow Chelsea youth Ethan Ampadu has had a similar start to his Blues career and he’s now received five caps for Wales. 

Mason Mount is another product of the Chelsea youth system. The nineteen year old has still to make a first team appearance for his employer but he has performed wonderfully well for both Vitesse and Derby County while out on loan. His performances in the English Championship have earned him a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s recent England squad. 

I would imagine that we could see Gilmour being loaned out at some point next year. Whether that’s to Chelsea feeder club Vitesse or an English Championship side I don’t know but if he does well at that kind of level then he’ll be ready to break into Alex McLeish’s Scotland pool. 

Even if it’s just to have a look at the young star and get him acclimatised to training with our senior players, I really think we need to think seriously about speed tracking the talented midfielder into the senior side. 

If we do get back on course in the Nations League and have a chance of Euro 2020 qualification then we could be doing with a dynamic, ambitious performer like Billy Gilmour within our ranks to unlock tough defences. 

By Scott Johnston (

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