An Ex-Scotland Boss McLeish has compared Billy Gilmour to a former France Midfielder who he played against prior to the European Championships in 1984
He also believes that should Billy Gilmour keep up his bright performances, it won't be long before he seals a place in the Scottish National team.
"He reminds me of former France midfielder Alain Giresse, who I remember playing against for Scotland in a warm-up game prior to the European Championships in 1984,” McLeish began.
“Jock Stein came over to me before kick-off and told me to be as physical as I liked against Giresse because, to use that well-worn phrase: ‘He won’t fancy it.’ Famous last words.
“France effectively lined-up with a five-man midfield. Giresse was there – this was that great French side that contained the likes of Jean Tigana and a fella called Michel Platini.
“We were playing a flat back-four and so we had no-one to mark - which was unusual for us - and we were absolutely battered in the first-half. We came in two-down at the break and I still remember Gordon Strachan turning around to me and asking what was the record defeat for a Scotland team against France. We were given a run-around.
“And at the heart of it was this Giresse fella. It didn’t matter how aggressively I went to engage with him, by the time I got there the ball had been moved on. He had an answer for everything.
“The times when I did actually get close, it had no effect. Giresse may have only been small in stature but he was solid.
“And one thing I have picked up on, having watched Billy play for Chelsea and looking back to the time playing for Scotland’s Under-21s, is the fact that they have worked on his core strength.
“The other player he reminds me of – with respect of his willingness to take a ball under pressure in any situation – was Barry Ferguson.
“One of Barry’s many great qualities is that he would accept a pass, regardless of the stadium he was playing in, the opposition or the match situation. He would take the ball and do something positive with it. He would re-cycle it. Take it back, move it forward, sideways – whatever the situation called for, he made the right decision.
“Now, it’s not fair to heap that kind of comparison upon Billy’s shoulders quite just yet but I see the same calmness in possession, like he is one step ahead. It’s a rare quality in the game.
“And if he keeps a level head, he really could go on to be quite a player.”