CRISTIAN Gamboa was just a baby when Costa Rica handed Scotland the mother of all World Cup humiliations, yet the Celtic defender would be more than happy to lend his own little boy to Scotland’s international team of the future.

Gamboa has revealed that his youngest son, Julian, was born in Glasgow and the man who has represented Costa Rica 65 times will not stand in the way of him pulling on a dark blue shirt one day.

The 28-year-old and his wife Melissa, have been so impressed by life in Scotland since the right-back moved to Celtic in August 2016 from West Bromwich Albion, that it is almost an adopted country.

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Gamboa has also lived in Norway, Denmark and England after leaving Costa Rica eight years ago to make his career in Europe. In contrast to Scotland, Costa Rica is on the crest of a football wave as it waits for the World Cup in June, with assignments which include Brazil. The friendly at Hampden Park is the first step in the preparations for those finals in Russia.

Four years ago, Costa Rica were a huge success in Brazil by reaching the quarter-finals, after winning a group that contained Italy, England and Uruguay. 

However, when Costa Rica embarrassed Scotland 1-0 in the first match of the 1990 finals, few had heard of them. “Our coach now, Oscar Ramirez, was in that team,” said Gamboa. 

“He always remembered that game because then Scotland was one of the best teams in Europe. Nobody thought Costa Rica had a chance and we beat you to finish second in the group and reach the last 16. I was just one when those finals were played but the people in Costa Rica always remember that team. 

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“It was our first time we’d reached the finals. We also qualified in 2002. The 1990 side are our famous team, but we made history too by reaching the quarter finals in 2014. 

“I’ve been in Scotland almost two years and, as a country, you really get to appreciate everything. Especially at a club like Celtic where everyone helps you. You feel very welcome. My wife, Melissa, and I love it here. Especially the countryside.

“One of my kids was born here, in Glasgow. So, Julian is ‘Scottish Costa Rican’ and wherever I go, I will have this piece of Scotland in my heart. Julian is almost two, Felipe is five. So, the boys are raised in Glasgow. Maybe Julian could play for Scotland one day. That would be good if he was chosen. You never know in football.”

Gamboa played in all five of Costa Rica’s run in 2014 before the Netherlands cruelly ended the dreams of the small nation of just 4.85million people, in a last-eight penalty shootout.

He feels the global football powers took their eye off the ball. “We surprised people but Uruguay, Italy and England under-estimated us,” reflects Gamboa.

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“They didn’t think Costa Rican football was any good and didn’t prepare. They thought they would beat us.  We believed in ourselves but never said it loudly. We beat Uruguay in the first game. They had been in the semi-finals in 2010 and that gave us confidence. Then we beat Italy, drew with England and won the group. We then beat Greece in the last 16.

“After Brazil 2014, everyone knew about Costa Rican football. 
The players got into good league like Spain, Italy, I got a move to England. It helped us to put Costa Rica in the football map.

“So, Keylor Navas plays every week for Real Madrid in goal. Bryan Ruiz, our captain, who scored against Italy, is at Sporting Lisbon. Celso Borges at Deportivo La Coruna and Giancarlo Gonzales in Serie A with Bologna

“I don’t worry about who we play in Russia. I don’t think about facing Brazil, or Switzerland. All we are thinking about is Serbia in the first match all I’m thinking about is getting into the squad for the finals. 

“Our first match is key and our coach wanted to see us against a national team that is similar to Serbia and he thinks that is Scotland, you have the same level in European football.”