Declan Gallagher patient for Aberdeen first start as Scotland defender admits 'it has been hard'
The centre-half now hopes his patience is set to be rewarded. Gallagher has experienced a frustrating summer. He did not play any part in Euro 2020 despite having been such a valuable member of the Scotland side that clinched qualification.
Similarly, aside from seven minutes at the end of the 5-1 win over BK Hacken, he had to sit tight at Aberdeen with Glass opting to play midfielder Ross McCrorie next to Andrew Considine in the centre of defence. A switch to a back three as the visitors sought to re-establish their lead against Beidablik in Iceland on Thursday meant Gallagher got the call.
His arrival alongside fellow half-time substitutes Dylan McGeouch and Connor McLennan coincided with Aberdeen edging ahead again and they will defend a 3-2 lead at Pittodrie on Thursday.
Before that is tomorrow’s trip to face Livingston, one of Gallagher’s former clubs. It would be a fitting venue to make his full competitive bow for Aberdeen. “At the end of the day, that is up to the manager,” said the 30-year-old. “I am just trying to give him a headache and to force myself into the team. The boys have done really well and Ross and Andy have been outstanding since I have been here so I just need to try my best and look to impress the manager.
“It was great to come on and make an impact,” he added. “It was the chance I had been waiting for. I have been on the bench and it has been hard when you are so used to playing but the team have been doing well and the boys at the back have been doing well. I have had to be patient.”
Although he would clearly rather be involved, Gallagher has enjoyed watching this new, exciting Aberdeen so far. Eight goals in three Europa Conference League outings is evidence of how things have improved on the goal-scoring front since last season, while a 2-0 win over Dundee United in last weekend’s league opener was another promising sign.
"A lot of teams would maybe go away in Europe and try to sit in, but it shows the football the gaffer wants to play here," he said. "He wants to play attacking football and he showed that with the three goals.
"I was out warming up so I don’t really know what was said (at half-time). When I went back in, the manager was cool and calm. He told us we had to step up another gear, but not to panic and to play our own game. That was exactly what we did in the second half."
Gallagher is looking forward to being reunited with Livingston manager David Martindale. “Davie is a great guy,” he said. “He works as hard as anybody I know in football. It is tough at Livingston because if you do well then your top players move on. It is tough to keep replacing them. Davie knows that and always seems to find new talent. They have another good squad this season and we know it will be another tough test.”
A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.