The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Scotland’ s new double act
Euro 2020: Gallagher wants to link up with McKenna again to face Kazakhstan
Scotland debutant Declan Gallagher hopes he and Scott McKenna get another opportunity against Kazakhstan tomorrow to prove they deserve to be the national team’s starting centre-back pairing.
The Motherwell player earned his first cap in Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Cyprus in Nicosia alongside Dons defender McKenna with goals from
Ryan Christie and John McGinn earning Steve Clarke’s men victory.
The Scots finish their Euro 2020 qualifying group games against Kazakhstan at Hampden tomorrow evening and Gallagher hopes he and McKenna get the nod to start again.
He said: “I thought we complimented each other well.
We made sure the striker wasn’t getting the ball too easily to feet. That happened in the first half but we got to grips with it.
“That was our first time playing together so it was pleasing that we did well.
“I hope we can (cement that partnership). I just want to do well for Scotland and this was a great result.
“The team has received a lot of bad press recently but hopefully we can build on this with the play-off games coming up.
“It has been a happy camp and the boys have been good with me. We have to stay positive.”
Clarke’s side will finish third in Group I with a draw against Kazakhstan, although the national boss is hoping to make it three wins in a row to help build momentum ahead of the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.
For Gallagher, who spent 11 months in prison for attacking a chef in 2013, making his international debut was a dream come true. The former Livingston player had earlier admitted that he feared it was a “wind-up” when he was first named in the Scotland squad.
He said: “It was amazing to make my debut. It is the thing that dreams are made of.
“I found out the night before that I was playing. The gaffer likes to give us a bit of time to prepare.
“I knew my family were up the back of the stand and a lot of people watching back home and to stand and to sing your national anthem and play for your country is a dream. It was absolutely amazing.
“I felt like crying knowing that my wife and my daughter were there to see me get my first cap.”
● Eamonn Brophy has been called up to the Scotland squad for tomorrow’s match after Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland was ruled out.
Brophy won his first cap against Cyprus in June.