Declan Gallagher has described his call-up to Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad as “unbelievable” and says he’ll give everything to make sure he’s in Steve Clarke’s team in the finals.
Clarke named his 26-man squad on Wednesday and Gallagher and Motherwell teammate Stephen O’Donnell made history as the first players from the Fir Park club to represent Scotland at a major tournament.
The 30-year-old only received his first international cap in November 2019 but was a key part of the side that came through the play-offs to reach the finals. He admitted he was over the moon to have his place in the squad confirmed.
“I heard about half an hour before the squad got announced,” Gallagher told STV. “Frank Riley sent a text message through saying ‘Congratulations, you’re in the squad’. This time I didn’t think it was a hoax so I’m absolutely delighted.
“To be honest, I didn’t know what to think and it was kind of like Christmas Eve where you can’t get to sleep as a young kid.
“I didn’t know what to feel but I knew that Steve Clarke normally speaks to boys that he’s not going to put in the squad, so I knew that no news last night was probably good news.
“My phone was on and fully charged but it looks like it’s losing charge now with the amount of text messages and twitter message that are all coming through right now.”
The former Livingston defender, who will leave Motherwell for Aberdeen this summer, said that it wasn’t just a proud moment for him after making the journey from League 1 to international football.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “When I got that message through it brought a tear to my eye.
“There’s no bigger achievement than going to a finals like this and representing your country.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling for me, for my family as well. Everyone in the family group chat is buzzing.
“I actually can’t wait for my wee girl to get out of school so we can tell her.
“It’s like a dream come true.”
Now that his place in the squad is assured, Gallagher says the next challenge is to cement a place in the starting line-up for the group games against Czech Republic, England and Croatia.
“I think I’ve got as good a chance as any,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been in a lot of squads in the build-up and I played the Israel game and the Serbia play-off.
“Also, my record for Scotland the clean sheets I’ve kept, I’ve got seven caps and there’s six games unbeaten.
“I fancy my chances to start but there’s a lot of good centre-halves going.
“I’ll have to bring my A game and push as hard as I can in training to get that starting position.”