Steve Clarke has revealed how close Billy Gilmour was to getting a call-up for Scotland.
The Scotland manager spoke to the media this afternoon following the announcement of his latest squad.
The Tartan Army face Russia and San Marino next week as they continue their Euro 2020 qualification pursuit.
Sitting second bottom of their group with six points from six games, it’s very unlikely that Scotland will automatically qualify for next summer’s tournament.
So the focus is now on finishing third and heading into the Nations League playoff in strong form.
Gilmour’s emergence in the Chelsea first team squad recently led to suggestions from some supporters online that he could be in today’s squad.
But the 18-year-old midfielder hasn’t made it – and Clarke has explained why.
Asked how close Gilmour was to making the squad, Clarke, per Scotland’s official YouTube channel, said: “Probably not as close as people would think.
“Listen, Billy’s an exceptional talent, an exceptional young talent, and we have to give the young players time to grow and develop.
“I think the best place for them to do that is in Scott’s Under 21 team. There are a lot of good boys down there.
“I considered Mikey Johnston as well who’s been in terrific form for Celtic. Ryan Porteous has got back in the Hibs team and looks a decent prospect. Fraser Hornby up front looks a handful.
“Scott has some good players there and it’s important that they grow together as a group and if they can develop and get a winning mentality then that will be good for Scotland in the future.”
Gilmour made his Chelsea debut in the Premier League against Sheffield United at the end of August and then got his first full start against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup earlier this month.