HAVING pushed the likes of Declan Gallagher to the level required to gain international recognition, there is a certain irony to the fact Motherwell could now lose manager Stephen Robinson to his country.

Gallagher credits Robinson hugely for the Scotland call-ups he has received of late, with Steve Clarke bringing the defender into his squad for the second time for the games against Cyprus and Kazakhstan next week.

By that time, if the bookies are to be believed, Robinson may well have left Fir Park to replace the departing Michael O’Neill as manager of Northern Ireland, although at the time of writing, Motherwell had yet to receive an approach from the IFA - or anyone else for that matter.

Gallagher is hoping it stays that way, as he looks to continue his own development under Robinson.

“The gaffer here is pushing me every day, challenging me every day to see if I can do different things,” Gallagher said.

“He said to me when I signed that he would make me a better player and a better defender, and he has done that.

“He is pushing for me constantly in the media and in the press too, so it’s great that the club here is helping me massively.

“I think you can see on the park that the boys enjoy playing football. We have young players and play in an attractive style. We play really entertaining football.

“We all love it and that makes it a happy place to be.”

Gallagher himself is in a really happy place too at the moment, admitting he is pinching himself to be mixing it with stars like Andy Robertson in training with Scotland. He believes the experience has already made him a better player.

“It’s a wee bit of a fairytale for me,” he said. “Two seasons ago I was fighting to get into the Premiership with Livingston, and then people were saying that we’d go straight back down.

“We stayed in the Premiership and then I got the move to Motherwell, and all of a sudden I’m getting Scotland call-ups. It’s hard to believe at times.

“It’s been down to hard work, really. The club here and Livingston too have helped me massively.

“I’m really delighted [to be called up again]. I wasn’t actually expecting it.

“I think I did well in training the last time I went there. I was positive and I integrated with the boys very well.

“Frank Reilly, the administrator, sent a message out saying ‘congratulations lads, you’ve made the squad’.

“There was no suggestion that I would be called up again, [Steve Clarke] just said that I had done really well during the week in training and he hoped to see me again in the future.

“It all comes down to how I’m playing at the end of the day. If I come back here to my club and I don’t do well then I don’t get the second call-up. Thankfully I’ve done well, and it’s great to be involved again.

“It was brilliant [the last time]. I was actually messaging the gaffer here and I said to him that the pace of training caught me out a wee bit on the first day.

“It was really high tempo, but knowing that you are training with boys from EPL teams and Rangers and Celtic, it shows you where you have to get to.

“The manager says I’ve come back here a better player for the experience, but it makes me realise too where I need to get to if I want to get a start for Scotland.

“Training with the best players in the country can only raise your levels, and I think it has done that. It is showing here when I play for my club.

“Hopefully I can take my form for Motherwell into the national team now.”

Motherwell’s overall form is giving Gallagher confidence that the Premiership’s third-placed side can get something from a difficult trip to Celtic Park tomorrow.

“We definitely don’t fear them or any team with the style of football we play and the kind of team we are,” he said.

“Not many people will be expecting us to go to Celtic Park and get a result, but we’re quietly confident.

“We have to just keep doing what we’re doing.”