BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
PETER Houston has urged teenage prodigy Tony Gallacher to stick with Falkirk and resist the lure of big money after the defender made his full debut for the club at the weekend.
The full-back, who only turned 17 in July, is very highly rated by the Bairns and has already been linked with interest from Manchester United, Rangers and Stoke City.
Gallacher was included in the Scotland under-19s squad for their friendlies with Greece but was excused service after international boss Scot Gemmill agreed it would be better for his development to play for Falkirk at the weekend.
The youngster made his first Falkirk appearance as a late substitute in the Scottish Cup victory over Fraserburgh last season when still 16 and made his first start in Saturday’s 6-1 victory over Elgin City in the IRN-BRU Cup.
Falkirk have seen a host of young talent lured south in recent times, with the likes of Jay Fulton, Stephen Kingsley, Botti Biabi and Ryan Blair all joining Swansea City, and Conor McGrandles moving to Norwich City.
However, despite first-team chances being limited by Luke Leahy’s sparkling form at left-back, Houston is adamant that Gallacher would benefit more from staying put and learning his trade at Falkirk.
Houston said: “I would personally think Tony would be better served playing for the next couple of years here.
“When it comes to money, that’s not my jurisdiction, but we’re in a good position (financially) and I don’t think for Tony’s development that it would be the right thing for him to even think about moving just now.
“In the next couple of years, if he progresses, it will be his time. He’s not there yet, but I think he’s got the capabilities to be a very, very good player.
“But I think he would be better getting at least 50 games under his belt here at Falkirk, which would stand him in good stead, like Stephen Kingsley and Jay Fulton, who played a lot of games and moved at the right time.
“You don’t want someone to go down there and get lost, like has happened to some other players.
“It’s crucial they pick the right time to go; it’s not about money, it’s about development, because they’ll make the money if they’re good enough.”