New Aberdeen defender Declan Gallagher admits being part of Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad is a dream come true.
The 30-year-old has to pinch himself that he is set to star in Scotland’s first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
Now he wants to star at the Euros to cap a memorable few months where he signed on at Aberdeen and also welcomed baby boy Ashton with wife Nikki.
Gallagher will meet up with the Dons squad after Euro 2020 having agreed a two-year contract under new boss Stephen Glass.
He hopes that journey to the Granite is delayed because Scotland have progressed to the knock-out stages of a tournament for the first time.
He said: “This is a dream come true.
“Just playing for your country is a dream come true but to be at a major finals is incredible.
“They say things come in three.
“I became a dad again, I’ve moved to a new club and now I’m in the Euros squad.
‘We had a wee boy, he’s only three months just now.
“I’m just delighted, words can’t describe how happy I am for myself and for my family who take great joy in any success.
“My career has gone from strength to strength.
“I pinch myself all the time, I am still pinching myself just now to be honest.”
International recognition came late for Gallagher as he was 28-years-old when Scotland manager Steve Clarke handed him his debut cap.
Baby Ashton joins daughter Shay but the only downside of international duty for the defender is that he is away from his family during the training camp in Spain.
The Scots will also be based at a camp near Middlesbrough for the duration of their time in the Euros.
🏴 Scotland International Declan Gallagher signs pre-contract agreement with The Dons.
🔴 The 30-year-old central defender will join the Club this summer on a two-year deal.#StandFree
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) May 6, 2021
Capped eight times Gallagher has moved from part-time levels in the lower leagues to a call-up for Scotland’s first major tournament since the World Cup in 1998.
Not only that but the defender was also one of Pittodrie boss Glass’ first signings and is set to make his Aberdeen debut in the Uefa Conference League next month.
Gallagher said: ” These things don’t happen that often and if I am honest I never saw it happening in my career.
“I was League One with Livingston, I was playing part-time for Stranraer and Clyde and the next thing you know I’m at a Euros.
“It’s amazing for me and it’s something I hold dear.”
Gallagher was introduced as a second half substitute in the 2-2 friendly draw with Netherlands in Portugal.
He is in contention to face Luxembourg on Sunday in the final warm up game before the Scots begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Czech Republic at Hampden on June 14.
Gallagher said: “I came from Livingston in the championship, winning back-to-back promotions, stayed in the SPFL and then got my move to Motherwell.
“We finished third so the next logical step was pushing for a Scotland call-up.
“It was something I always had my eye on.”
The defender accepts he has a battle on his hands to secure a starting slot for the opener against Czech Republic.
He played a pivotal role in the historic Nations League final penalty shoot-out defeat of Serbia in November to secure Euro 2020 qualification.
Gallagher kept out danger man Aleksander Mitrovic in Belgrade and was dominant in the air.
However he lost his starting slot following a hamstring injury at the turn of the year.
Although back to fitness and named in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers in March he was an unused substitute in the matches.
He said: “The defence is playing well and there’s obvious competition for places.
“There are a lot of really good players in the squad.
“It just shows the strength and depth that we’ve got.
“Remember too we had seven players left back at our training camp who didn’t travel for the Holland game.
“With Scott (McTominay) perhaps playing in midfield it will hopefully free up a space in defence, you can see how well he has done for Manchester United this season.
“Listen, it will be tough but competition for places is what you want.”
Gallagher aims to impress if given the opportunity against a Luxembourg side that shocked Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Dublin in a World Cup qualifier in March.
He said: “Luxembourg had a good result against the Republic of Ireland in their last World Cup qualifier.
“And they only lost to Norway with a last-minute goal from Erling Haaland.
“That shows you how strong Luxembourg are.”
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) June 4, 2021