By: Hibernian Media on 11 Mar, 2020 09:00
It’s taken Jamie Gullan years to be an ‘overnight success’.
That’s why there was widespread delight at the Hibernian Training Centre when the hard-working Academy graduate’s progress of late was rewarded with a Scotland Under-21 call-up.
It’s the 20-year-old’s first international involvement at any age level and it clearly means the world to him.
Scot Gemmill’s squad will face off against Croatia and Greece in a 2019-21 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification double-header – boosted by the inclusion of a player still on a high from securing his first senior goal and first senior start for the Hibees.
We caught up with Jamie just after he’d heard the good news.
Congratulations on your first Scotland Under-21 call-up, Jamie! It must go down as a proud moment for you?
It’s the first call-up I’ve had for Scotland at any age level, so it came as a real shock. I was at HTC when I heard and had just come in from training. Some of the Development Squad boys – Josh Campbell, Ryan Shanley, Innes Murray and Callum Yeats - were getting ready for their game against Aberdeen and saw me. They were clapping and going crazy but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what they were talking about until they told me the news about the call-up, so it was a pretty surreal moment. It really does mean a lot to me, maybe that bit more because it’s come a bit later on for me than some. It’s a new feeling and in the last few weeks I’ve had my first start and my first goal to tick off. That’s been a lot for me to take in and this is another special moment. The thought of playing for my country is class and I can’t wait to meet up with them.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for you – between that first goal against Inverness Caledonian Thistle and start against Aberdeen – but it’s obviously been a long time coming.
A good few weeks has come on the back of months and years of working hard. I’ve had three loan spells and played a lot of football for the Development Squad. It’s come together in the last few weeks but a lot’s gone into that along the way. Checking my phone after being told about the Scotland call-up, that’s when the last few weeks probably started to sink in. Being told I was going to start against Aberdeen was such a buzz because I thought ‘this is my chance to kick on’. The Scotland news felt like another landmark moment. Since I came back from my loan at Raith Rovers it’s been unreal. The week in Spain during the winter break was make or break.
The reaction from your team-mates to your goal against Inverness Caledonian Thistle said a lot about what they think of you. Christian Doidge took to Twitter to congratulate you. How big a part has he played in your progression?
Christian’s been excellent with me. Even on Saturday, ahead of the game against Aberdeen, he took time out to talk to me. He said ‘try your best and I won’t moan at you. There’s no pressure and I’ll help you as much as I can’. He seemed genuinely happy for me when I scored my first goal and it’s good to know people are looking out for me.
So, what’s next?
I know this is where I need to get the head down and work even harder. I won’t get carried away. It’s been brilliant and I’m really happy, obviously, but my priority is making sure there are a few more firsts to enjoy. If you hit a landmark, you need to think about the next one. You have to keep setting targets and I think that’s how you improve. There are short-term and long-term targets. I have a few. The Scotland Under-21 call-up is one that I didn’t expect so it’s given me a wee confidence boost. All I look to do is work hard, try to improve and see where it takes me.
Elsewhere, Development Squad prospect Jayden Fairley has again been named in the Scotland Under-17 squad.
Brian McLaughlin’s group will take part in the UEFA Elite Round against Slovakia, Republic of Ireland and Czech Republic.
Jayden caught the eye with a long-range screamer of a goal against Armenia back in October.