Scotland Under-21s star Stevie Mallan is in no doubt that team-mate Billy Gilmour has a big future

Scotland's Stevie Mallan in action (SNS Group)

BILLY GILMOUR has set his sights on becoming one of the best players in the world.

It sounds a lofty ambition for a 17-year-old from Ardrossan.

But ask the Chelsea prodigy’s Scotland Under-21 team-mate Stevie Mallan about the youngster’s prospects and the answer speaks volumes.

“I didn’t know much about wee Billy,” said Mallan.

“I knew he was at Chelsea, but once I started training with him, you could see just what a high standard he’s at.

“He’s eager to play football and that’s what you want as a young boy coming through. He’s loud, too.

“Some boys coming up will be quiet, shy and nervous, but the young lads who have come in have stood out.

“When you get a Scottish boy who gets a move to Chelsea, it’s all over the papers and everyone’s talking about him, so you kind of wonder what he’s like.

“He’s 17, but he’s a very, very good player. He’s definitely going to be a big player in the future.”

Gilmour played a key role in two of the young Scots’ goals against Andorra on Thursday night at Tynecastle.

Their hopes of qualifying for next year’s European Championships still look faint ahead of Tuesday’s away clash with Holland.

But Hibs star Mallan believes Scot Gemmill’s Under-21s are developing into a team packed with potential stars.

“We have a good mix in the team,” he said.

“We have guys who have been playing regularly for their first teams, mixed with the younger boys who are coming through like Billy and Fraser Hornby.

“We are a youthful team blended with experience.

“We have a good mentality and a togetherness.”

Everton starlet Hornby bagged all three of Scotland’s goals on Thursday, prompting Gemmill to dub him a top target for a host of clubs.

Mallan reckons his quality will come in handy for Scotland in the years to come.

But he also highlighted the contribution of 19-year-old Celtic star Mikey Johnston, who will look to cause Holland problems.

“Fraser is good with the ball at his feet and he can finish,” said Mallan.

“If you’ve not got a decent striker then you are not going to play well as a team.

“That’s the first time I have worked with him – to score a hat-trick at any level is good and he’ll take his treble and kick on.

“Mikey Johnston, you could see him trying to take players on.

“It was actually a frustrating game for him because they stuck two or three players on him.

“But you could see his quality. He’s playing with Celtic and he’s in and around the first team.”