Billy Gilmour was delighted to end a challenging season on a high with an impressive display in Scotland’s 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying win over Georgia.
Gilmour won the official man-of-the-match award after making light of the sodden conditions with an excellent display of possession football.
The midfielder was making his first competitive start for Scotland this season after forcing his way into the Brighton team in the final weeks of the campaign.
Gilmour had been unfortunate to see the man who signed him from Chelsea, Graham Potter, leave for Stamford Bridge a week after the transfer. He took some time to get into Roberto De Zerbi’s team and also had to cope with being the victim of a stalking campaign last autumn by a woman who was sentenced in court to a suspended prison term on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old started five of the last eight games of the Premier League season, which included a 6-0 win over Wolves, a draw with Manchester City and wins over Manchester United and Arsenal.
And he was able to depart for his summer break in good spirits after helping Scotland maintain their 100 per cent record in Group A of the European Championship qualifiers.
“I am really happy with my first start in a while,” the former Rangers youth player said. “I am just happy to be back out there playing, with a smile on my face, doing what I love. It’s a good feeling.
“It’s been a challenging season. Towards the back end I got quite a few opportunities at Brighton, so I am thankful and happy. I have worked hard. It was a good way to end the season.”
Scotland moved eight points clear at the halfway mark of their group, although Spain have two games in hand and are nine behind.
Gilmour said: “We have shown a real togetherness. We are doing well as a team and the manager is making sure we are working hard and challenging each other every day in training. It’s really good for Scotland. Everyone is pushing each other.”
Scotland overcame torrential conditions and a near two-hour delay to clear water off the pitch to beat Georgia through goals from Callum McGregor and Scott McTominay.
“It was tough,” Gilmour said. “One minute the game was going ahead and the next it’s not.
“It was a crazy night but mentally we had to be focused and ready and big thanks to the fans staying behind and the ball boys helping out, cleaning the pitch and making sure it was playable.
“The first 10-15 minutes was crazy, just to adjust, you think you can win it and then it holds up. But we got it sorted. Everyone stuck together, helped out and we got three points.”
Gilmour was focused on the game rather than being distracted by the prospect of finishing the match on Wednesday and delaying summer breaks.
“I was too busy sitting down trying to keep myself ticking over,” he said. “There might have been a couple of shouts of ‘replay tomorrow’ but it was fine after we got the water off the pitch.
“Football came first, obviously with the national team. We were all focused on that and leave summer until after the game. Now we can go and have a break and enjoy.”