Rising Scotland star Billy Gilmour’s 76-minute midfield masterclass against England at Wembley can inspire a generation of young stars.
That’s the view of Dundee United individual performance coach Andrew Steeves who believes that Euro 2020 performance has set the template for the future of Scottish football.
Steeves, 26, has spent the last three years combining his career as a player at Montrose with a full-time post in the Dundee United academy set-up.
And he believes Scottish football should rid itself of the self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘glorious failure’ and tell our youngsters to compete with the world’s best, like Gilmour has done.
Gilmour believed he could ‘be one of the best in the world’
“It’s a time to be brave,” said Steeves. “Let’s look at the talent we have across the youth system in Scotland see what comes next.
“We went out of the Euros and ultimately lost but that England performance was one that can, hopefully, inspire a generation.
“We need to talk to players and ask: ‘Why can’t you be one of the best centre midfielders in the world?’”
“Billy Gilmour will inspire numerous, under-sized centre midfielders right now. But they also need to show the kind of attitude he has to the game.
“My boss at Dundee United, Andy Goldie, worked with Billy.
“He said there was nothing outside Billy’s vision of becoming one of the best in the world.
“We are trying to install that culture within Dundee United’s youth academy as well.
“Everyone talks about ‘glorious failure’ but we really need to shift that culture away.
“We need to talk to players and ask: ‘Why can’t you be one of the best centre midfielders in the world?’
“Why can’t you be one of the best right backs in the world?
“We can sit an under-11 or under 12 down in a Dundee United changing room and tell him ‘you can be one of the best in your position in Scotland, in Europe and then go on and play in the Champions League?’
Gauld and Armstrong – two Dundee United academy stars who made it big
“In the last decade there are fine examples. What Ryan Gauld has been achieving over in Portugal has been absolutely outstanding.
“What Stuart Armstrong has produced at Celtic and Southampton is brilliant.
“John McGinn has been ridiculous in the Euros and over the last year.
“We need to start telling kids that if you train well, are accountable to yourself and commit to football.
“With that and other interests, such as academics, they can be successful.
“This Euro experience will be invaluable for the next generation.”
Steeves began his coaching journey at the age of 20 as he was released by St Johnstone.
And he has already set his sights on a career in coaching when he hangs up his boots.
As links between the academy and United’s first team strengthen under Courts’ charge, Steeves role is likely to become increasingly influential.
United’s youth system has been transformed since the the arrival of Andy Goldie as academy director in 2019.
Logan Chalmers, a Scotland under-21 star, has become a United regular.
Dundee United academy bears fruit
Chalmer is just one of many youngsters impressing Steeves at United
Talented teenage defender Kerr Smith is on the radar of every English Premier League side.
There are also high hopes for several young Terrors, including Archie Meekison, as the season kicks off with Friday’s Premier Sports Cup clash with Kelty Hearts.
“It’s fresh, new and really exciting,” added Steeves. “There are some great player coming through. We had Chris Mochrie here last year who is a real talent.
“I’ve been very lucky over the last four or five years to be able to call Tam Courts a friend.
“He’ll leave no stone unturned. He’s an outstanding human being. That will really serve him well in his time at Dundee United.
“My brother helped me go down the coaching path. I was released at 20 at St Johnstone after limited first-team experience.
“You become a better player by being a coach. I had so many bad habits that I didn’t realise I had until I watched myself play on video.
“On the pitch I’m shouting like a banshee and flying into tackles. As a coach I’m more relaxed and allow players to play.
“I don’t see myself moving out of coaching and at Dundee United there are pathways all over the place.
“You can see that with Tam Courts being promoted from the academy to the first team.”
Steeves keen for more success at Montrose
While Steeves is excited by the United challenge, he is determined to help Montrose achieve their goal of becoming one of the best part-time teams in the country.
They followed up the 2018 League Two title win with three successive fourth placed finishes and Steeves wants more.
“We’ve reached the play-offs over the last few years but haven’t made it over the first hurdle of the semi-final,” added Steeves. “It’s bitterly disappointing.
“We were a toed cross away from going into penalties against Morton last year. That was hard to take.
“But we got back to work early and the boys still have the bit between their teeth from last year. We want a better season than the last one.”