IN his fledgling career to date, Billy Gilmour has just about seen and done it all.

He has played for a top six giant in the English Premier League. He has represented his country at a major championship. He has bounced back from a difficult loan spell, showing mental fortitude to establish himself as a key cog in a hugely impressive Brighton side at the top level in England.

One thing he has yet to do though in his senior career, remarkably given his talent and technique, is score a goal. Either for club, or country.

Gilmour is a laid back and affable character away from the field, but he becomes animated at the mention of this quirk, something that is clearly eating away at him at least a little.

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According to his father, Billy Snr, it actually has been for the want of trying, encouraging his son to shoot more when he has the opportunity. It is advice he has been trying to heed, with his rasper from 30 yards being too hot to handle for Newcastle United keeper Nick Pope last weekend, only for Evan Ferguson to mop up the glory by subsequently tapping home.

And though delighted with the national side’s incredible run of form, the fact that two of his fellow Scotland midfielders are scoring for fun at the moment has drawn a stark contrast to his own lack of goals, with John McGinn and Scott McTominay notching another strike apiece against Cyprus on Friday night.

Anyone who needed any reminder though of the value of Gilmour to the Scotland team only had to witness his incisive forward pass that kick-started a glorious team move for McGinn’s goal in Larnaca, his partnership with Callum McGregor at the base of the Scotland midfield providing the platform for those further up the pitch to score.

Still, Gilmour admits, it would be nice to break his duck. And there would be no better time than at Hampden on Tuesday night when England come calling.

“I’m still waiting for it!” Gilmour said.

“It’s coming. Two weeks ago against West Ham I came off the pitch and my dad said: ‘How many times? Do you want to just take a chance and shoot!’ So, going into the game against Newcastle, the first time the ball was bouncing I checked back and thought ‘I just need to shoot here’. It ended up in as an assist.

“Hopefully it will come soon. The most important bit is just trying to get a result and trying to help the team, for sure.

“It used to be my trademark when I was growing up, edge of the box, hitting it first time, and it would go in. But then I’ve been first team and I’ve just never scored a goal. Hopefully I can change that.”

Gilmour already has an impressive performance against England under his belt for his country, when he made the nation and many more beyond these borders sit up and take notice as he helped Scotland to a 0-0 draw at Wembley in the European Championships with a composed display that belied his tender years.

The midfielder thought he might simply have been named in Steve Clarke’s squad for the experience more than anything else, and that he might have to carry a hamper or two, but carrying the hopes of the nation didn’t seem like too much of a burden when he was flung in at the deep end.

“I didn’t think I’d play,” he said.

“I got called up and was just buzzing to be a part of it. To be around this squad for the first time it was exciting.

“The whole thing of Scotland being back at a major tournament, it was a great feeling just to be called up. But to be on the pitch against England and what happened that night was surreal. That was my first game and it was a good night for me and my family.

“I was a bit nervous going into the game. I hadn’t expected to be in right from the start. So, when I got the heads up I was starting that was me trying my best to calm the nerves.

“But when I got on the pitch it was more excitement. Of course when you start playing the first couple of nice passes it settles you right down into the game and you enjoy it.”

As he basked in the warm afterglow of the rave reviews of his performance in that match, no one could have foreseen that a positive Covid test would deny Scotland of Gilmour for the final group game against Croatia, or that he would then go on to endure a hugely difficult loan spell at Norwich City.

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“It was a difficult season,” he said.

“I went there thinking I could get on the ball and play in The Championship, because in The Championship they are a really, really good team.

“I went and it was a tough season, but I learnt a lot more off the ball, which is something I had to improve on in my game. My game is mostly trying to get on the ball.

“So, I enjoyed it. It maybe wasn’t the season that I wanted or would want to have, but I’ve moved on from that, gone to Brighton, and now I’m trying to kick on.”

He is certainly doing that, shining as he has started three of Brighton’s four Premier League matches this season and appeared as a substitute in the other.

After dropping in and out of the team under manager Roberto De Zerbi last season, the departure of £100m man Moises Caicedo and World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister has given Gilmour an opportunity, and rather big shoes to fill. It is a chance he is eager to seize, and a task he is undaunted by.

“I played the majority of games towards the end of the season and I have been involved in every one so far this season,” he said.

“All I want to do is play football and enjoy it.

“It has been a good start to the season though we are just four games in. I think it is down to working hard in training and having a bit of self-confidence.

“It was also about waiting to get an opportunity and I got that at the end of last season. I knew it was a big season when I came back after the summer.

“I felt no pressure coming in. I was there for last season, I worked under both Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo and I’m buzzing for them that they got two top moves. They will go on to do very well.

“But now it’s for us at Brighton to step up and be counted and I have to make sure I can give it my all.”