YOU can take the boy out of Scotland but you can’t take Scotland fully out of the boy. Six years have passed since Jamie Gillan and his family moved to start a new life in Maryland, USA but some hankering for the old days remains.

The Cleveland Browns punter will sit down this evening for Thanksgiving dinner, wishing he could maybe mix it up a little with his favourite item from back home.

“Me and my girlfriend are going to attempt to make a big Thanksgiving meal,” he revealed. “We’ve got our turkey in the fridge right now with the brine on it getting prepared. We’ve got the cranberry sauce, we’re trying to make our own stuffing and do it all. It might be a disaster but we’re going to try!

“I’ve been trying my hardest to get some black pudding but I’m not sure they let that in here. I explained to my team-mates that it’s blood in a pudding and they think it sounds disgusting. But I told them if you have it in a roll it’s the bee's knees.”

Gillan is in what the Americans call his sophomore season having proved such a success in his rookie NFL campaign.

A former rugby player universally known as The Scottish Hammer, the 23 year-old can fair boot a ball when the occasion calls for it.

Still remarkably down-to-earth and humble, he wonders why other rugby players haven’t also attempted the switch.

“When you see guys like Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell and how they kick a rugby ball – they would give a lot of guys a run for their money!” he adds.

“Hoggy can absolutely mash a rugby ball so I’m sure he could do it with an American football too. They could fly out to Arizona, kick a few balls in front of some NFL coaches and maybe get a training camp invite. You never know what could happen. You saw what happened with my journey.”

The Browns haven’t made the post-season play-offs for 18 years but have started this season well, offering up some much-needed optimism.

The trick now is to try to emulate the heroics of another Cleveland sporting institution – basketball’s Cavaliers – who won their first NBA championship with superstar LeBron James leading the way in 2016.

Gillan added: “This place would just erupt if we made it to the post-season. People would go absolutely crazy.

“I heard what it was like when the Cavs won the NBA and that sounded wild. For people here Lebron James is like a god. They love him and rightly so.

“And the celebrations will be like that times 10 if the Browns could do anything along the lines of that.

“Everyone in the locker room knows what it means to the fans. So we want to do it for them and the city as they deserve it. We’ve always got that in the back of our heads.”

Gillan tested positive for coronavirus in the summer and admitted it was a befuddling experience.

“When I got it I had a couple of flu-like symptoms. My girlfriend got it too. It lasted about two or three days. And then I lost my sense of smell for a month and was quarantining for quite a while. And when you’re sitting there for a while you start making up symptoms in your head as you’re wondering if you will get worse. But it never happened and I feel fine now.

“The anxiety with a load of people is through the roof as you’re constantly trying to stay safe and not be that person that gets it again. We’re getting tested every day but you can still touch the wrong surface in a grocery store. You’re just rolling the dice when you do things like that.

“Our big motto is Embrace the Suck so we always do that. This situation may suck at times but we’re getting paid, we’re allowed to go and work out and are still playing football. It’s not that bad for us. I feel more for the fans and other people.”

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