GLASGOW: Scotland’s bid to reach the knockout stages of a major international tournament for the first time was rocked by the announcement on Monday that Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour had tested positive for coronavirus.
Rarely will the loss of a player with just one senior start for his country be so lamented.
The 20-year-old walked away from Wembley on Friday with the man-of-the-match award after getting the better of a host of fellow Premier League stars as Scotland kept their Euro 2020 campaign alive with a 0-0 draw against England.
Steve Clarke’s side need to beat Croatia at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Tuesday to stand any hope of reaching the last 16.
“We always do it the hard way, or the Scottish way,” said midfielder John McGinn after a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic in Scotland’s first major tournament game for 23 years a week ago left them with a mountain to climb.
The one crumb of comfort for Clarke is that he has not lost any more players to self-isolation despite their contact with Gilmour.
All 25 remaining members of his squad trained on Monday after news of the midfielder’s positive case broke.
Gilmour’s calm and composure on the ball at Wembley despite the noise and tension around the match between the old enemies led to a deluge of plaudits.
“Billy Gilmour is my idol,” tweeted three-time tennis Grand Slam winner Andy Murray, while former Scotland captain Graeme Souness claimed he was the playmaker his country could build around for 10 years. AFP