AS one of only five Scottish footballers to be the proud owner of a Premier League winners’ medal, it is fair to say that Kevin Gallacher excelled during the years that he spent playing in the top flight in England.

Gallacher may only have been involved in one game for Blackburn Rovers during the Lancashire club’s successful 1994/95 campaign due to the broken leg he had suffered the season before.

However, the winning goal he scored in a 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace at Ewood Park in April helped to ensure that Rovers pipped Manchester United to the title by just a single point the following month.

And having been named in Kenny Dalglish’s squad that term he received a medal along with team mates like Henning Berg, Graeme Le Saux, Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton after they were presented with the trophy.

Colin Hendry (also Blackburn), Darren Ferguson, Darren Fletcher and Brian McClair (all United) are the only other Scots with that particular gong in their collections.

But Gallacher’s time down south got off to a difficult start; the forward took a long time to adapt and settle after he moved to Coventry City from Dundee United in a £950,000 transfer back in 1990.

So the former Scotland internationalist is confident that his compatriot Kieran Tierney, whose debut season at Arsenal has been one to forget for a variety of reasons, can put his annus horribilis firmly behind him in future and fully justify his record £25 million fee.

“There were a lot of hurdles for me to overcome initially in England,” he said. “I had to get used to a different lifestyle, a football club that was run differently, a different style of manager. There was a language barrier. I was a Glaswegian speaking with a Dundee twang. The first six months were very, very difficult.

“I found myself up against the England left back, the second choice England left back, the next England left back. I played against Pat Van Den Hauwe (the notorious Spurs defender) who would take the legs from under you whenever he could. It was a high standard. I wasn’t used to consistently playing against such good teams in Scotland.

“I was also playing in a position which didn’t suit me. I wasn’t a winger, I was an attacking midfielder. John Sillett (the Coventry manager) played me as a right winger. I was taking corners, which I had never done at Dundee United.

“Kevin Drinkell told him I wasn’t a right winger. David Speedie said to him: ‘Change Kevin! Move Kevin up front!’ When Terry Butcher took over he saw what I could do and switched me and that was when everything started happening for me.

“I was eventually moved into what you would class as a No.10 role – where I flourished behind Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer at Blackburn.”

Gallacher, then, can appreciate exactly what Tierney, who was recovering from a double hernia operation when moved down to London and then suffered a dislocated shoulder in December, has gone through in recent months.

“I can sympathise with Kieran,” he said. “He has moved away from home for the first time to another country. It can, as I can testify, be difficult. You’re nervous, you want to do well, there is more tension there, you aren’t as relaxed when you play. He has cost a lot of money and people are watching him to see how he does. Then he gets himself injured.

“Arsenal have been going through a difficult period as well which probably hasn’t helped. Arsene Wenger, who was manager for about 100 years, has left and I think they are still, nearly two years on, trying to adapt to life without him.

“Supporters don’t look at you as a person, they look at you as a footballer. All they see is what you are doing on the field. But you have emotions and issues away from the game like anybody else.”

Tierney, who had returned to training before football was suspended last month, was linked with a summer move to Leicester City, where his former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is in charge, earlier this year.

Bukayo Saka, the England Under-18 internationalist, has performed well for Arsenal since being moved by his manager Mikel Arteta from his preferred position on the wing to left back in the absence of Sead Kolasinac and Tierney.

But Gallacher, who now works as a co-commentator for the BBC and ST Sport, believes his compatriot can displace Saka when the suspension is lifted later this year and produce the level of performance that made him a firm fans’ favourite during his time at Parkhead on a weekly basis.

“I know the quality Kieran has,” he said. “He just has to show that consistently for Arsenal. It is only a matter of time before he comes good. He has just got to get through this period. When he does that there will be no stopping him.”

Another Scot who has struggled to establish himself in the Premier League has been Stuart Armstrong. The former Celtic player has been in and out of the Southampton team since clinching a £7m move in 2018. He lost his place in the national squad earlier this season due to his lack of game time.

But Gallacher, who won 53 caps for his country and supplied the goals which secured their place in the France ’98 finals, has been pleased to see Armstrong feature far more regularly for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side this year.

“I like Stuart, I like the way he plays,” he said. “I loved him at Dundee United and was disappointed when he went to Celtic. He struggled to begin with there as well. Then he came into things more and won a big money move to Southampton on the back of it.

“Stuart seems to take some time to find his feet when he moves, but I can understand why having been there myself. I’m sure there will be no looking back for him now he has established himself again.”