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Stuff of dreams – Billy Gilmour hoping for starting role in Euro 2024 opener

Billy Gilmour is hoping for a starting role in midfielder for Scotland on Friday night (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Billy Gilmour is hoping for a starting role in midfielder for Scotland on Friday night (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Billy Gilmour admits it would be the “stuff of dreams” to be picked for Scotland’s European Championship opener against Germany.

The Scots get the competition up and running when they take on the host country in Munich on Friday night and the Brighton playmaker is one of several strong midfielder options available to Steve Clarke, who also has to negotiate Switzerland and Hungary in Group A.

Speaking at a media conference at Scotland’s training base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Gilmour, who turned 23 on Tuesday, said: “It is a competitive midfield. We all want to play every game, fighting against each other, but it is a good competitiveness.

“Everyone wants to start and at the end of the day it is up to the manager, and you just need to do your best in training and see what the manager thinks.

“Of course I want to start the game and play every game possible. If I did get the opportunity, to walk out would be an amazing feeling.

“The opening game of the Euros, the stuff of dreams. Yeah, excited and we will see what happens.”

Gilmour knows that if he does get the nod from Clarke, he could be up against one of the great midfielders in Toni Kroos.

The 34-year-old returned to the fold with Germany and will play one last tournament before he calls time on a trophy-laden career.

Kroos recently won the Champions League with Real Madrid to collect the sixth winners medal in that competition and Gilmour is aware of his quality.

He said: “I think Toni Kroos is unbelievable, you seen what he has done in the game and just to watch him, he is unbelievable.

“The way he passes it, he makes the simple things 100 per cent perfect.

“Of course one of the greatest midfielders of the game and to test myself and compete would be a great opportunity and I will be excited.”

The former Chelsea player, who started out as a youth player at Rangers before moving to Stamford Bridge, made his first start for Scotland in a goalless group-stage draw against England at Wembley in the delayed 2020 Euros and was awarded man of the match.

Billy Gilmour
Gilmour hopes to make Steve Clarke’s starting line-up in Munich (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He said: “I have matured a lot. I was a kid the first time at the Euros and I would say I am not a young kid any more. I grew up a little bit. But it’s all part of the journey. I have really enjoyed it.

“Of course, looking back, the game against England, my first competitive game, a really good game for us all and that is the test you want as a footballer.

“The group is tough, but we want to test ourselves and see how far we can go.”

The Tartan Army have arrived in Germany, with tens of thousands expected to travel, and Gilmour is aware of the backing they will have both inside and outside the stadium.

“It gives us a real buzz,” he said. “We all know Scotland is so passionate, especially about football.

“Everyone wants us to do well and we want to give everything we have got.

“There will be loads at home watching, there is a real buzz around the country and I think you can tell that.

“We are all getting very excited. The opening game against Germany and training has been in good spirits.

“I think we all know it is going to be an amazing night, the atmosphere is going to be incredible with Germany fans and Scotland fans and it is for us to compose ourselves straight away and try to get used to the atmosphere as soon as possible.

“I know in our team we have a lot of players who have played in massive atmospheres but the one against Germany is definitely going to be different.”