FORMER Scotland boss Craig Brown has praised Ardrossan starlet Billy Gilmour and believes he will be a “great player for the future”.

Gilmour, who plays with Chelsea, received plaudits for his performances before lockdown against Liverpool and Everton and he was awarded man of the match in both games at the age of just 18.

Speaking exclusively to the Herald, Brown who led the national team from 1993 until 2001, recalled the first time he saw Gilmour play.

He said: “Billy is a very exciting player. I think he is excellent and outstanding.

“I saw him playing as a young boy with Rangers’ youth team against Aberdeen and he stood out by a mile.

“He is such a talented young player and I believe his feet are firmly on the ground and he does not get carried away and that is a big help because some players at his age would get full of themselves but he is not that type of guy.”

He added: “We have a great young player for the future.”

Gilmour’s performances before lockdown led to calls for him to be included in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off clash with Israel which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, since lockdown Gilmour has only started one game which was against Leicester in the FA Cup.

Ex-national team boss, Brown, believes it is better to be playing regular first-team football but admitted that he would be “tempted” to include Gilmour in the national squad despite his age.

He said: “It would be better if he was playing regularly, there is no doubt about that. Others might argue to be on the Chelsea bench with the talented squad they have is preferable to being a regular in a lower league.

“I think a lot of it depends on the player. If Billy’s attitude is right and he works conscientiously in training then there is no doubt he will continue to improve but to get match practice is important.

“You want to play and I am sure he wants to play and to get into that very good Chelsea team he has to be exceptional so he will be waiting in the wings and when he gets a chance he has to take it.

“Before lockdown he looked like a first-team player and I expected to see him start more games after the restart but he has not.

“It’s a huge step into the national team and what comes with it. He is guaranteed a game with the under-21s currently but you always want your best players in the national team so that is a decision that has to be made by Steve Clarke.

“I think it is important for young players to be in the main squad so I would be tempted to give him exposure whether that is on the bench or playing.”