Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has revealed that he tried to sign Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour on a loan deal while at the Dons.

Gilmour, 20, was part of Chelsea’s Champions League winning side this summer and has since been included in Steve Clarke’s Euro 2020 squad.

And the promising midfielder could have played a role north of the border with Aberdeen, had Chelsea agreed to the switch.

"I don’t know the boy," McInnes told the Mail on Sunday. "But I have watched him play through the youth levels against our teams at Aberdeen and I have had good reports from former teammates and ex-players of mine since he moved south from Rangers."

One such former teammate was Jody Morris, who played alongside McInnes at Millwall before playing under him when he managed St Johnstone and Bristol City.

“Wee Jody Morris in particular, just loves Billy," he added. “He used to rave about him when he was part of Frank Lampard’s coaching staff at Stamford Bridge. Midway through last season I called Jody up and asked him about the chances of bringing Billy up to Pittodrie on loan.

“My request was quickly shut down. Jody just didn’t think it was possible and you can understand why.”

Gilmour made his senior debut for Chelsea in July 2019 and has since played 11 times for the club in both league and cup competitions as well as starting in the Champions League against Krasnodar.

McInnes was full of praise for his breakthrough at Stamford Bridge, adding: "He has been trusted to play in big games by both Frank and Thomas Tuchel and now he has a Champions League medal to his name.

“Not bad for a kid who celebrated his 20th birthday on Friday.”

Scotland face Czech Republic on Monday, with Gilmour in contention to make his international debut at Hampden.

Meanwhile McInnes has been linked with a return to management at West Brom, whom he played for between 2000 and 2003.