BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Falkirk assistant manager James McDonaugh reckons being linked with a stunning switch to Barcelona was “unfair” on precocious defender Tony Gallacher.
However, he reckons the 17-year-old is now ready to realise his undoubted potential in a “sink or swim” campaign with the Bairns.
Gallacher, who made eight senior appearances last term, is now the club’s first-choice left-back following the departure of fans’ favourite Luke Leahy to Walsall and he turned in a superb performance in their 4-1 Betfred Cup win over Stirling Albion.
Scouts have regularly flocked to watch Gallacher and, allied with the Catalan giants being credited with a watching brief, the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Celtic have shown real interest in the Scotland under-19 star.
And McDonaugh said: “For a 17-year-old Scottish boy to be linked with Barcelona is totally unfair to him. I don’t know why people feel the need to put pressure on players and make them ‘the next Roberto Baggio’ or whatever.
“No, let’s just let him be himself. He can develop without people feeling the need to say he’ll be Barca’s next flying left-back beside [Gerard] Pique. If he gets there, then brilliant! But just now, let’s settle down and focus on the immediate future.
“Tony played a few games last season and we took him out of the team, now he is ready to come back in. Now it’s a wee bit of sink or swim for him, there is no-one really ahead of him in the pecking order so the jersey is his to lose.
“He is a boy I have admired since before I came to Falkirk and he has huge potential. We just need to get that bit of belief in him and urge him to grasp his opportunity.”