Former Aberdeen star Glass explains why Atlanta’s Gallagher will be a hit at Pittodrie

Jon Gallagher when he signed for Atlanta.
Jon Gallagher when he signed for Atlanta.

Former Don Stephen Glass reckons Jon Gallagher’s loan switch to Aberdeen can benefit everyone involved.

The Reds have secured the right-back, who can also play as a winger, on a deal from MLS champions Atlanta United for the rest of the American season – which ends in November.

Glass came through the youth ranks at Pittodrie and made 131 appearances for the Dons before leaving for Newcastle United in 1998.

He is manager of Atlanta United 2, the Five Stripes’ reserve team.

This season Gallagher has made eight appearances – scoring once and making one assist – for Glass’ team in the USL Championship, the second tier of American football.

Last term the 23-year-old, originally from Dundalk, Ireland, featured 29 times for United 2, with six goals and five assists.

Glass, appointed gaffer of the reserves in January, believes Gallagher has a bright future and thinks playing in big games for Aberdeen in the Europa League qualifiers and domestically will help him develop.

Gallagher could make his Dons debut in the Europa League first qualifying round against Finnish side RoPS Rovaniemi, with the first leg at Pittodrie on July 11.

Glass, 43, said: “Our vice-president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra has spoken about Aberdeen having a track record of developing loan players.

“They have used loan players well and improved players who have been on loan and that’s what Jon will want to get from it.

“Jon asked me about what Aberdeen are like and I was able to tell him what the club are like as a young player coming through and what the place is like. It’s a fantastic club and I told Jon that.

Stephen Glass in action for Aberdeen.
© Atlanta United
Glass is Atlanta United 2 boss.

“Jon asked me about the club just to do his homework once he knew Aberdeen was an option.

“It wasn’t a situation where we were trying to talk him into the move – he’s very positive about it.

“But he asked me what I thought of Aberdeen because he knew I’d played there.

“I told him it was a great club and a great city to live in and I thought he’d enjoy playing for Aberdeen.

“It was just a chat we had because I’d been at Aberdeen and was brought through at the club.

“We didn’t really need to sell the move to Jon. The test for him now is to try to come in and get as many opportunities to play in the first team as he can.

“You will play in front of good crowds at Aberdeen and you will play in big, high pressure games where you’re expected to do well.

“He’s going in and trying to do well and I think the fans will like what they see from Jon. I think everybody involved will benefit.”

Gallagher was selected by Atlanta in the 2018 MLS draft after playing college football with Notre Dame University, where he worked under legendary former Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark. In three years with Notre Dame he played mainly as a forward, bagging 39 goals and 15 assists in 84 appearances.

At Atlanta he has spent more time at right-back. Glass, who also played for Watford, Hibs, Dunfermline and Carolina Railhawks, believes Gallagher’s versatility will help the Dons.

The former Scotland cap added: “Jon is quick and direct with good quality on the ball and he has a great attitude.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity for Jon to go and play first-team football at a good level.

“He’s very versatile. In his college days he was really attacking.

Gallagher playing for Notre Dame.

“Here at Atlanta he’s played a bit more as a full-back.

“But in any of his positions, full-back, midfield or further forward, he will do well.

“He’s strong, good on the ball, can score a goal and make a goal.

“Jon is a dynamic player and Derek McInnes will have a number of options in terms of getting him into the team.

“But wherever he plays Jon will help the team and you wouldn’t want to pigeonhole him into a position too much.”

Atlanta think Gallagher’s time in the Granite City can help propel him into the first team, managed by Frank de Boer.

Glass said: “He’s a second-year professional over here and it’s the same as every club, there are different timescales for different players to break into the first team.

“When you’re at the best club in America it’s difficult to break in.

“Jon is behind some fantastic players here so sometimes the best option is to try a different avenue by going on loan.

“The club believes in Jon, they haven’t sold him, we’re hoping Aberdeen help to develop him and that’s what we believe is going to happen.

“Everyone here hopes Jon does well in his career and this loan is a developmental tool which will help him.”