Aberdeen defender Declan Gallagher is ready to make his family proud if given the nod to start against the Czech Republic today.
The 30-year-old’s wife Nikki, daughter Shay and son Ashton will be at Hampden to cheer the centre-back on in the biggest game of his life.
Gallagher insists every time he pulls on the Scotland jersey it means the world to him – and to his family.
Ashton is just three months old but will be at the national stadium today as Scotland kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign.
Gallagher accepts Ashton is so young he won’t remember the defining game of his dad’s career and will probably fall asleep – but it makes the day even sweeter that his two children, wife and his parents will be at Hampden to share the occasion.
The defender, who has signed on at the Dons on a two-year contract, is in contention to start against the Czechs as one of manager Steve Clarke’s three centre-halves.
Gallagher said: “My family will definitely be there for the game.
“My wife, daughter, wee boy, my parents and her parents, it will be great to have them all there.
“We had a wee boy, he’s only three months just now and it will be his first game of football.
“Not that he’ll ever remember it – and he’ll probably fall asleep during it.
“My mum and dad have obviously been there through it all and were there for the Russia call-up, when I was called up but didn’t get a game in Russia.
“So it’s going to be a great time for them as well.”
— Declan Gallagher (@declang31) June 9, 2021
FaceTiming the family during Euro 2020
Being separated from his young family is a sacrifice Gallagher is willing to make to play a role in Scotland’s bid to progress from the group stages of a tournament for the first time.
Gallagher was allowed two days with his family early last week when manager Clarke gave the players and back-room staff two days grace to meet up with loved ones back home before reconvening at the Scots’ Euro 2020 camp in Rockliffe Hall, Darlington.
The squad were given that time off following the 1-0 friendly defeat of Luxembourg, which Gallagher started, that concluded a week long training camp in La Finca, Spain.
Gallagher said: “I’m FaceTiming as much as I can right now because he’s changing every day.
“He’s got his wee Scotland top and so has my daughter.”
‘My wife makes the biggest sacrifice’
Gallagher will be apart from his family for the duration of Scotland’s stay at Euro 2020 – which he hopes is deep into the competition beyond the three group games against Czech Republic, England and Croatia.
He will begin his Aberdeen career after Scotland’s involvement in Euro 2020.
The former Motherwell defender admits being apart his young family is tough – but reckons wife Nikki is making the sacrifice, not him.
He said: “It’s always hard to be away from the family.
“However my wife is at home with two kids. doing that by herself.
“Her mum and dad are away at the moment, my parents are in Glasgow and she’s in Dundee.
“But she knows this is my dream – and she’s living it with me.
“My wife makes the biggest sacrifice and I’m thankful for everything she does.”
‘It means the world to me and my family’
Gallagher is in contention to earn his 10th Scotland cap today having arrived late to the international scene.
The defender earned his debut cap at 28-years-old in a 2-1 defeat of Cyprus away in the Euro qualifying group.
Although Scotland would fail to qualify through the direct group path they would ultimately secure a Euro 2020 slot via the Uefa Nations League play-offs.
Scotland have only lost once in the nine games Gallagher has played, 1-0 away to Israel in November last year, and have conceded just seven goals.
He said: “My daughter and my wife were there for my debut.
“My wife’s mum and dad and my mum and dad were there, too.
“When I got that phone call to say I was in the Scotland squad I had it on loudspeaker and my wife and daughter were there.
“It was just an unbelievable moment.
“I can still remember my wife crying.
“I said to my daughter ‘Daddy is going to play for Scotland’ and she said ‘I already knew that daddy’.
“Yet I had never, ever spoken about it to her in my life.
“Any time I pull on that international jersey it means the world to me and it means the world to my family.”
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie
Gallagher produced a monumental performance in defence in the Euro 2020 play-off final defeat of Serbia in Belgrade last November.
He kept the shackles on danger man Aleksandar Mitrovic, Serbia’s all time leading scorer with 41 goals.
Following a 1-1 draw the Scots progressed via a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out.
Scotland netted all five spot kicks and keeper David Marshall ended more than two decades of tournament qualification heartache when saving Mitrovic’s penalty.
That sparked jubilant scenes of celebration by the Scotland squad that continued into the dressing room.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 12, 2020
Footage of them dancing to 70s disco hit Yes Sir, I Can Boogie became a social media sensation.
Yes Sir, I Can Boogie is already shaping up to be the Tartan Army’s song of the summer.
Gallagher said: “You see all the videos on social media and you can’t help but think back to that night.
“It was a special night and the fact I played such a big part means the world to me.
“I was obviously thankful to the manager for putting me in the team that night and thankfully I got the job done.”
⚽️🔵 On the latest episode of our Northern Goal podcast, Scotland's most popular man, former national boss Craig Brown, tells us why Steve Clarke's team can reach the Euros quarter-finals.
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) June 10, 2021