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Billy Gilmour – journey from ‘Oor Billy’ to Scotland’s hope

Billy Gilmour

A handful of Chelsea appearances came for Gilmour, who by this point was growing in stature.

In the search for more game time, though, a loan spell to Norwich City would prove a difficult period for the Scot with the Canaries being relegated from the Premier League.

However, the start of that season would bring Gilmour’s first international cap, with him going on to play a starring role in Scotland’s draw at Wembley at the last European Championships just days later.

“It definitely never went to plan,” said Gilmour of Norwich.

“When looking back, it’s helped me a lot. Nobody wants hard times in their career, they think it’s just train and play and you’ll start, start, start. But that’s impossible.

“It was an eye opener and I learned a lot more about myself than the football.”

Now part of a Brighton team that looks at home in the upper echelons of the Premier League, Oor Billy looks equally comfortable in his own surroundings.

Only just turned 23, he is a linchpin for his club side and may well be in line to try and help his country get their Euro 2024 campaign back on track against Switzerland on Wednesday.

Gilmour started on the bench in Scotland’s 5-1 thrashing by Germany in Munich, and already there is huge clamour among fans and pundits to see if they’ll get their wish.

“He’s been brilliant with me,” Gilmour said of manager Steve Clarke before the tournament. “Of course I’m from the same area as him, he’s an Ayrshire boy.

“He’s helped me a lot, especially at my time at Norwich when I wasn’t playing. He had that loyalty to pick me and say, ‘look, you’re not going to play, but you’re part of the squad. Train and work hard and go back to Norwich’.

“When I came into the squad he made me feel welcome from the start and I guess he now looks at me as an older player. I’ve been in the squad for a couple of years and trying to take more responsibility.

“I’m not a kid now.”

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