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Monday, 29 October 2012 14:32

Dundee star building on her family roots

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By Danny Scott
YFS South East Region Reporter
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A Scotland Under 15 star is set to become the fourth generation of footballing family to represent their country. Danny Scott speaks to Amy Gallacher and dad Kevin on the eve her national team debut.

Dundee United SC vs Monifieth LFC - Under 15 GirlsWhen Amy Gallacher’s (pictured, right) great grandfather, Celtic legend Patsy Gallacher, first played football in Scotland he had to organise the team himself at Holy Redeemer Primary School. All the teachers at the school were women who showed little interest in football leaving the plucky young Irish émigré to assume the roles of captain and secretary.

Fast-forward over a century and times have changed. Women’s interest and participation in football is on the up with Scotland’s senior women’s team heartbreaking, last-minute Euro 2013 play-off defeat to Spain receiving national press coverage.

Some things haven’t changed however. The Gallacher family is still achieving great things with the ball at their feet.

Over the course of a hundred years this one family has gathered caps for nations on both sides of the Irish Sea, earned berths in Scotland’s hall of fame and places in the hearts of fans of Celtic, Falkirk, Dundee, Dundee United, Newcastle and Blackburn.

On his debut The Mighty Atom, as Patsy was know, was a mere 5’7” and 7-stones but his skills and direct play soon added weight to his reputation as one of the greatest players in Celtic’s history, finishing his Hoops fairytale with 192 goals in 464 games. A tally bettered by only 5 other Celts.

Now, it’s his great granddaughter’s turn to write the next chapter of the family’s football story. On Tuesday night (30 October 2012), Amy Gallacher will swap the tangerine of Dundee United U15s for that of her country as she hopes to lead the line against Germany in her Scotland debut.

History can be both a blessing and burden but Amy claims her family’s hasn’t influenced her, though it is something she’s incredibly proud of. However, there are echoes of the Patsy Gallacher legend when she describes her style: “I’m good at scoring goals and with the ball at my feet.”

Amy’s only 13 years old but she’s already represented Dundee United at U17 level. Her achievement of making the final 18-strong U15 Scotland squad generated much excitement in the Gallacher household: “I felt really excited and proud of myself. I was at my granny and grandad’s in Dumfries. Once I found out I immediately put it on Twitter and Facebook…I’m feeling quite nervous but excited to play Germany.”

Whereas Amy’s great grandfather had to battle against a disinterested female faculty to play football at school, today, women’s football is growing in stature and quality year-on-year as Kevin Gallacher, Amy’s father, reflects: “It’s getting better all the time and the SFA are trying hard to improve things at grass roots and national levels. More press coverage would make a big difference - I think a lot of people would be surprised at the technical abilities on show.”

untefndmfhgeAmy’s dad never got a chance to see Patsy or his own father, Dundee hall of famer Tommy Gallacher, play. He does say that Amy’s granddad passed on a love of good football though and a strong work ethic. An attribute he sees in his daughter: “It is certainly Amy’s ambition to play for the senior Scotland side one day and she’s prepared to make sacrifices to get there but it’s a really tough ask. However, to get selected to represent your country at any level is an honour. I think you just aim to be the best you can be.”

With a family whose footballing history rivals, or even trumps, that of the Maldini’s, Redknapp’s or Charlton’s Amy doesn’t need to look too far for inspiration. She names her interests as football, full stop, and her idols as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Dundee United’s Gary Mackay-Steven for whom she made a clock in school. A timepiece now hung on United’s dressing room wall (pictured, left).

Indeed the countdown is now on for Amy’s national debut. Luckily she can call up her dad’s cousin, also Kevin Gallacher, for advice on playing for one’s country. Dundee United legend (after he scored the winner in a UEFA cup match against Barcelona, video of which can be found below) Gallacher earned 53-caps for Scotland and represented his country at Euro ’92, ’96 and at the World Cup in 1998. Now a BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Kevin advises: “I'm very proud of Amy’s achievements and hope to see her in the senior ladies national side in the future. My advice to her would be to listen to everything everyone tells you, take it on board, and keep practising. The best players never stop learning.”

Time will tell whether Amy makes it all the way to the senior Scotland squad. For now, she can be extremely proud of her contribution to the Gallacher’s footballing history. Her dad, for one, shares this feeling: “I’ll be emotional I'm sure at the national anthem and like all the parents just hoping their daughters do well as individuals and as a team against really tough opposition.”

Last modified on Saturday, 03 August 2013 19:12
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